WASHINGTON, DC – Jamaica’s Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) will implement a new customer relations management system at the island’s two international airports. As a result, it will enhance the ability of PICA to provide a better quality of service to anyone coming into Jamaica.
This is the word from the Chief Executive Officer of PICA Mr. Andrew Wynter as he addressed members of the Diaspora on the Online Program Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks at the embassy of Jamaica in Washington DC Last Thursday October 27th, 2022.
Faster Processing Times
The system will include the installation of electronic gates at the international airports for Jamaicans coming into the island which will enable them to be processed much faster by immigration and lessen the time they have to wait at arrivals.
Mr. Wynter said that the Passport Agency was looking at ways to use technology that will enhance the experience of both incoming and outgoing passengers at the airports who access any of the services that PICA has to offer.
He said already, PICA has installed automated Kiosks at the island’s airports which has resulted in passengers being processed and exiting the airport at a much faster rate.
He added that the digitization of the passenger declaration form has made life much easier for the passenger as they can now access the form on-line.
Mr. Wynter pointed out that PICA was playing its part in assisting members of the diaspora in re-engaging with Jamaica. One of the things we are proud of is that we now have online passport renewal for adults. He said the process is very simple and once completed, applicants will have their new passport within 20 days.
The PICA CEO said the agency has been working on the simplified application form for adults which will make passport processing much easier.
He noted that over the past two years, PICA has implemented a program called “access Jamaica” geared at improving service to members of the diaspora.
This is where we send a full team to various states in the US, London and Canada which helps the various diplomatic missions as well as members of the diaspora.
“We know that since the pandemic the demands have increased and in light of this, the Agency has been working very hard to provide services and to complement our missions overseas so that they can provide the services to members of the diaspora,” Wynter said.
In the meantime, the Non-Immigrtant Visa Unit Chief in the Consulate Section of the United States Embassy in Kingston, Mr, Jeff Osweiler says the waiting time for non-immigrant visa applicants attending the US embassy in Kingston has been reduced from a backlog of 800 days to an estimated 150 days and the numbers are getting lower as the days go by.
He said there had been an improvement in the service with the return in the number of staff which had been reduced as a result of the COVID pandemic and which had placed a damper on the services offered by the Embassy.
Jamaican’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks disclosed that on a recent visit to the United States State Department she was informed that five new counselor officers would be posted in Jamaica.
This she said was good news as it will help in reducing the numbers of visa applicants to the US embassy who must brave the long lines on a daily basis.
Prominent Jamaican Immigration attorney in Washington DC, Ms. Simone Williams was on hand to assist the audience in clarifying matters on different types of work visas ‘
Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks’ enables Jamaicans at home and abroad to communicate directly with the Ambassador about current Jamaica / USA bilateral matters and to stay informed about the Government of Jamaica’s policies and program as well as the Embassy’s activities.