Passport fees increase next week

Monday, May 18, 2015

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PASSPORT fees will increase as of next Tuesday, May 26, the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) announced yesterday.

The cost of a regular adult passport will move from $4,500 to $6,500, while the passport for a minor will move from $2,700 to $4,000.

Replacing lost passports for adults will cost $11,500 (up from $9,500) and $7,000 (up from $5,700) for minors.

PICA explained that the current fee structure was introduced in 2009 and that the new amounts seek to cover inflation and the movement in the exchange rate over the period. Importantly as well, is the fact that the agency will have to be self-sufficient as it will no longer receive money from the Consolidated Fund.

"The new fees will provide the agency with the necessary funding to employ more immigration offficers and other staff, as well as offer some technological improvements and space requirements for customers and staff," the agency said.

"It is noted that, while the agency has made considerable gains to fully cover all its operational costs, it is only staffed at 70 per cent for permanent employees. Additionally, a considerable portion of the technological inputs for its services are quoted in foreign exchange. In order to fulfil its mandate of border security, the staffing levels, and use of technology are necessary and become even more important in light of current international threats," the statement continued.

In addition to the increased fees, PICA said it will make changes to its services, and will introduce a same-day service at its headquarters at 25 Constant Spring Road. It said it will also offer expedited services of seven and five days at its regional office and outposts in Montego Bay, St Ann's Bay, Portmore, May Pen, and Mandeville. The regular service at those points is currently 14 and 11 days.

"Over the years the agency has met it customer service promise of providing passports in seven working days, and in the last financial year met this target 99 per cent," PICA said.

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