Minister of Legal Affairs and National Security Victor La Corbiniere has announced there will be another extension to the deadline for the recall of non-readable passports.
La Corbiniere said the decision was made at a recent cabinet of ministers meeting, where it was decided that the deadline should be extended until January 2015.
“It means that people can continue to bring in their old passports and can continue to travel with their old passports for the time being,” the minister explained.
This is the third extension for the recall of non-readable passports.
“We continue with the same rates for the passports. Once we have passed the recall date, there will be an assessment to determine whether or not we need to adjust the rates,” La Corbiniere added.
Citizens who presently carry non-machine readable passports will be required to apply for a machine-readable passport at the Immigration Department on Bridge Street, Castries.
Machine-readable passports (regular) costs $80 and machine-readable passports (expressed service) $130. Replacing a non-machine readable passport after the January deadline will cost $200.
At the end of the recall, citizens of Saint Lucia will not be permitted to travel with the non-machine readable passports.
Government took the decision to support the introduction of machine-readable passports for the citizens of Saint Lucia in 2007. In March of that same year, the Saint Lucia Immigration Department began to issue the machine-readable passports to citizens of Saint Lucia.
This new system is in compliance with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO, the organisation that governs the specifications and guidelines for travel documents.
The introduction of the machine-readable passports is to enhance the security of travel documents to avoid counterfeiting and fraudulent alterations.