Govt to introduce e-passport service

The Guyana Government will be implementing e-passport services that will see the country being linked to an international Border Management System.
This was announced by Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, at a post-Cabinet press briefing on Friday.
He disclosed that the contract for the “New Border Management System and e-passport Project” was awarded to the Canadian Bank Notes Company Limited to the tune of US$12.4 million.
“Before you used to have passports produced on a manual basis. You fill a form and somebody writes up everything and it takes forever to actually get a passport. The e-passport system allows you to provide information electronically and for that information to go to the Department of Citizenship, where these passports are produced,” he explained.
The project, which is funded by the Guyana Government and will be implemented by the Department of Citizenship, will see Guyana being linked to an international system on border security.
“I cannot go into the fine details about it but I believe it involves not only the way in which these passports are produced but the way in which you read the information on the passport because it is now linked to an international system of border protection and border security. So that is part of an international process in which all of the passports internationally are produced electronically,” Harmon noted.
The use of electronic passports, also known as an e-passport or a digital passport, has been progressing since 2005. More than a decade later, over 150 countries around the world have started issuing this new type of travel document since mid-2018.
Unlike conventional passports, the electronic passport has a microprocessor which stores a digital version of the ID photo as well as all of the ID data found on the first page of the paper passport.
In addition, digital fingerprints can be stored. In this case, it is referred to as a biometric passport or second generation of electronic passport or e-passport.
According to Industry Segment in its business column, an e-passport is an electronic passport with high-security printing, an inlay including an antenna and a microprocessor, and other security features. An e-passport is a biometric passport which includes a chip, which can be used at the automated e-passport gates instead of having your passport checked by a Border Force officer. The chip holds the same information that is printed on the passport’s data page: the holder’s name, date of birth, and other biographic information. In some countries, including Germany, e-passports include two fingerprints as well.
The column published by Industry Segment also stated that the rapid development of the tourism industry and the improvement of people’s living standards are the main factors that promote the growth of this market. There are currently 122 countries with e-passport programs which QYR estimates are producing 146.83 million units of e-passport in 2018. Most e-passports are valid for 5 or 10 years and there are one billion e-passports in circulation, exceeding 60 per cent of all passports in use.