Jamaicans urged to avoid the rush and renew passports now

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaicans wishing to access the services of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) are invited to do so during the next six weeks in order to benefit from the cyclical summer lull and avoid the pre-Christmas rush.

According to Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Jennifer McDonald, each year following the beginning of the new school term and the end of the summer holidays, the demand for passports and related services is significantly less than that which obtains during the peak holiday periods.

During peak periods the agency averages some 17,000 applications for new and renewal passports compared to just over 9,000 during the lull in demand. The increased demand often results in long lines, inordinate delays and undue pressure on the staff to meet the turnaround processing period of seven business days.

Mrs .McDonald reminds the public that clients do not have to wait until the expiration of a passport before applying for a new one, because the regulations stipulate that a passport can be renewed up to a year before the expiry of the current one. In addition, individuals who have applied for passports and having allowed for the turnaround period of seven business days are reminded to collect the document as soon as possible.

In order to ensure the seamless processing of new passports applicants are reminded that for renewal of the passport, they must present the old one, two passport sized photographs, (one of which must be certified by a justice of the peace), a certified copy of the birth certificate, and a completed, certified application. Married women must present their marriage certificate and new applicants, a valid identification.

PICA is an Executive Agency and as part of its cost recovery programme requires a fee of $2,500, for clients 18 years and over and $1,500 for minors (under 18 years). (JIS)

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