The government of St. Kitts and Nevis began issuing new electronic passports with heightened security features to citizens of the Carribean community this week.
Electronic passports contain a small electronic chip – an RFID chip – embedded in the cover that contains key information about the passport carrier such as their name, gender, date of birth and a digital photograph of the carrier.
Some electronic passports contain biometric information as well and require digital confirmation of physical attributes such as fingerprints and iris patterns, though the new St. Kitts and Nevis passports will stick to basic information.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security said the new passports will not only expedite travel for citizens between the two Carribean islands, but will also help prevent fraud and identity theft.
“The new document to be issued by the Government of St Kitts and Nevis is more secured and designed with specific imbedded features intended to enhance the integrity of the new E Passport and will facilitate more seamless travel by citizens and residents of the Federation,” the ministry stated.
St. Kitts and Nevis is one of the first countries in the region to use electronic passports.
“We are proud to be once again be leading the way in ensuring that citizens of our twin-island Federation are given an added layer of protection whenever they travel,” Elvis Newton, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Homeland Security told SKN List. “The new passports do cost more, but we are confident that nationals will understand the added cost of producing these digital passports, and will appreciate the expedited processing at various ports where they travel, when compared to those persons who do not have upgraded passports.”
Non-electronic passports are still valid in the region, though anybody requesting a new passport as of this month will be issued an electronic passport.