New electronic passport coming soon
The Department of Passports has announced that it will start issuing e-passports for Dominican nationals this year. The passports will ensure that documents are genuine and unaltered, which in turn allows the biometric information contained in e-passports to be reliable enough to automate some aspects of the border clearance process in the country and abroad. The e-passports will enable the country to enter the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD) system that has been established to support the global interoperability of e-passport validation and enhanced aviation security. Participants’ passport issuing authorities can better engage border control authorities in participating countries in identifying and removing bogus documents from circulation.
The Dominican participation in the ICAO PKD will also make international travel easier for Dominicans. When a Dominican travels to another country using an e-passport, border officials will use the information downloaded from the ICAO PKD to confirm that the e-passport is authentic and has not been tampered with. This is expected to reduce the time of passport examination at points of entry and departure. The director of Passports Iris Antonia Guaba says that she hopes the measure will eliminate passport fraud. She said that 100 people were prosecuted for passport fraud in 2013. Guaba said that the system is being used in 102 countries. The system recognizes the bearer’s signature, digital fingerprints and facial features, as opposed to the current passport that only registers the signature. The data is stored in a chip inserted in the passport. Guaba says the project, which is costing RD$1 billion, will be implemented within 18 months. It will meet all the OACI requirements and will include watermarks and the DOM inscription. She said the new passport was designed for enhanced aviation security and to combat international crime, drug trafficking and people smuggling. “These criminal organizations directly affect travel documents not only in the Dominican Republic but all over the world and oblige us to constantly adopt new technologies,” she told El Dia. She said that with the old system they detect around 20-25 cases of passport fraud every month in 2013. The recent fraud reduction measures under the present system include the stipulation that passport photos must be taken at the Passport Office.
She said that the waiting time for processing a passport has been reduced from 50 minutes to 25 minutes, and VIP (delivered on the same day) issuing is reduced from three hours to an hour and a half. El Dia reports, however, that some people complained that they had waited for four hours. She said that the Passport Department processes 400-450 passports per day, with the peak time being December and January when up to 525 units are processed per day. She said that the department issues around 1,200 passports every day.
Source: DR1, Eldia.com.do
Category: DR News |