(CMC) – Barbados Monday announced that it is phasing out the machine-readable passport in favour of the electronic passport, following a recommendation by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) as the new standard to be adopted for travel document issuance.
Chief Immigration Officer Wayne Marshall said that the e-passport was a biometrically enabled passport with a chip and antenna in the cover that increased the security features.
“It would be more difficult to replace an e-passport because there is a chip in the actual cover. Anyone seeking to replicate the passport would have to remove the chip and ensure that it has the same information as on the biodata page,” he said.
Marshall said that the chip would capture the same biometric information – facial representation and biodata – as machine-readable passports.
However, he noted that the computer chip in the cover could not be easily accessed, replicated or changed, thereby enhancing the security feature of the passport.
Marshall said that the more security features a passport have, the more accepted it was by countries around the world.
“Barbados is moving towards it because of the security features and to maintain the high standard of the Barbados passport,” he said, adding that the island ranks highest among Caribbean countries that do not require a visa for entry into most countries.
However, it is a standard which all Caribbean countries will have to meet overtime.
Once fully implemented, persons would not have a choice as to if they should get an e-passport or not, as the machine-readable passports would be phased out.
Marshall also recommended that persons wait until their passports expire before applying for a new passport.
Last month, Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, announced that his country would be adopting the e-passport.