Tuesday, September 21

Two new Passport Offices Open

The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) will be extending operations to St. Catherine and Clarendon as it seeks to improve on service delivery and satisfy the needs of clients. As at August 3 and August 10, the agency will be offering passport services out of the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) offices in Portmore and May Pen, respectively.

Director of Passport at PICA, Amy Johnson-Lynch, told JIS News that the initiative will allow the agency to extend its offerings beyond its 25 Constant Spring Road headquarters and Montego Bay location, thereby “offering greater convenience to its customers while maximising resources that already exist within the agencies and ministries”.

She said that the new locations will only deal with regular passport matters, that is, first-time submissions and renewals, as well as collection of documents at a cost of $4,500 for adults and $2,700 for minors. The next day and three-day services will not be offered.

Turn-a-round time for the processing of applications at the Portmore location is 11 working days, and 14 working days at May Pen.

The opening hours are Monday to Wednesday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and on Saturdays, at the Portmore TAJ office only, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The offices will be closed to passport service from the 13th to 16th and 28th to 30th/31st of each month to accommodate the increased volume of TAJ clientele on those days.

The new offices will be fully equipped with the latest passport technology and high quality office supplies.

Having the latest equipment will be essential to these offices, as passports are some of the most important documents that a person can have. For the employees, they’ll need to make sure that these physical documents can be digitalized, so they can have numerous copies of each passport. Document Imaging Software, that you can get from places like FileCenter, (https://www.filecenterdms.com/info-document-imaging.html) will allow for these documents to be transformed into digital copies, which could be particularly important if anything happens to the physical ones. So, having the latest technology and equipment has never been more important.

Mrs. Johnson-Lynch told JIS News that due to the nature of operations at the TAJ, persons utilising passport services at the new two locations will have to produce their Tax Registration Number (TRN).

Endorsing the thrust and partnership, Communications Officer at the TAJ, Leighton Beckles, said that the initiative ties in with “the whole joined-up government concept” and allows the TAJ to “step up our added-value component to our customers.”

“TAJ subscribes holistically to this concept and we want to reach out to a lot of our fellow government entities to see how we can better serve our nation…and we will continue to be a very strong corporate partner for years to come,” he stated.

Mr. Beckles noted that both entities will efficiently offer their services under one roof and satisfy their customers as best as possible. He assured that, “these services will not interrupt TAJ’s operations,” noting that PICA will have its designated personnel and space to facilitate operations at the two locations.

The documents required for the passport application process are: a completed application form signed by a Justice of the Peace (JP) or any other authorised person as listed on the application form; two passport size photographs, one signed by the same certifying officer, who signed the application form; an original copy of the birth certificate; a national identification (ID) for adults; the expired book for passport renewals; and the relevant fee. Adults making applications on behalf of children are also required to present their IDs.

“For persons, who are married, a married certificate is needed. If you have changed your name, the change of name document is required along with all the other documents,” the Director outlined.

All supporting documents must be originals accompanied by the TRN if the transaction is being done at one of the TAJ locations.

To collect passport books, persons are required to take along the receipt and ID, with a signed letter of authorisation if they are collecting on behalf of someone else.

For further information about passport services, persons may call PICA at 754-4742/906-1304 or visit their website at www.pica.gov.jm.