Changes To Passport Processing On June 5th

May 27, 2015

Changes to the processing of British Overseas Territories Citizen [BOTC] passports will take effect on Friday June 5th of this year, Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said today [May 27] in the Senate.

Minister Fahy said, “The significant changes relate passport personalization, printing and dispatch of BOTC passports. All of these functions will be undertaken by Her Majesty’s Passport Office [HMPO].

“The transfer of these functions was a mandate of the UK Government; a mandate that was being imposed upon Bermuda and the following British Overseas Territories [BOTs]: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena, and Turks & Caicos Islands.

“The requirement to look at the printing of BOTC passports came as a result of the UK Government, via the Identity and Passport Service [IPS], introducing a new UK passport design with improved security measures for British Citizens [only] on October 5, 2010.

“The new printing process will be implemented in two phases for all BOTs. Phase 1 will require that passport application files be sent to HMPO via courier service. Phase 2 will allow for the transfer of passport application files electronically. Due to the current passport stock that Bermuda currently has available, the local process will be slightly varied for Phase 1.

The Minister said that on average, the Department of Immigration issues 7,000 BOTC passports [adults and children] per year, and under the new processes, the responsibility for the application process will remain with the BOTs.

“Establishing this end to end solution meant that the Department of Immigration [along with all other BOTs] had to replace its current application processing system with a solution that fully supports the application approval process and which links securely to the IPS production system in the UK,” added Minister Fahy.

“I am happy to report that with both phases no staff will be displaced and there will be no requirement to increase the current headcount in the passport section of the Department of Immigration.

“As mentioned previously, the local process under Phase 1 is somewhat unique for Bermuda. Due to the current passport book stock [approximately 10,000 books], Bermuda will continue to personalize, print, and dispatch BOTC passports until Spring 2016.”

Minister Fahy said the immediate changes on Friday June 5, 2015, will include the following:

  • New application forms will be required for each passport application [forms will be on the Immigration website.
  • New guidelines for the issuance of emergency passports will be strictly adhered to.

“It should be noted that the new fees will be determined upon confirmation of administrative costs associated with the courier services. To that end, I shall endevour to apprise the public accordingly,” added the Minister.

Minister Fahy also said that applicants for BOTC passports will see the following changes in the future:  passport application fees for adults and children will increase; the emergency/express service fee will increase; and under Phase 2, the current turnaround time of 8 working days will increase to approximately 20 working days.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Madam President, I would like to take a few minutes this morning to advise the general public that changes to the processing of British Overseas Territories Citizen [BOTC] passports will take effect on Friday June 5, 2015. For Bermuda, BOTC passports are issued by the Department of Immigration.

Madam President, the significant changes relate passport personalization, printing and dispatch of BOTC passports. All of these functions will be undertaken by Her Majesty’s Passport Office [HMPO]. The transfer of these functions was a mandate of the UK Government; a mandate that was being imposed upon Bermuda and the following British Overseas Territories [BOTs]: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena, and Turks & Caicos Islands.

Madam President, the requirement to look at the printing of BOTC passports came as a result of the UK Government, via the Identity and Passport Service [IPS], introducing a new UK passport design with improved security measures for British Citizens [only] on October 5, 2010.

The UK Government entered into a contract with De La Rue, the world’s largest passport manufacturer, for the production of this new passport. The previous contract with 3MSPSL was terminated. At that time, interested parties were concerned that the termination of the 3MSPSL contract would likely limit the ongoing supply of passport books for the production of BOTC passports.

Madam President, discussions about the processes required to facilitate the printing of BOTC passports in the UK have been ongoing since early 2011. A working group comprising all of the aforementioned BOTs [including Bermuda] engaged in discussions about:

• the parameters for issuing emergency passports;
• ensuring that each BOT had sufficient passport books to carry them over as they transitioned to the new processes; and
• standardization of the passport application form.

Madam President, in the main, the new printing process will be implemented in two phases for all BOTs. Phase 1 will require that passport application files be sent to HMPO via courier service. Phase 2 will allow for the transfer of passport application files electronically. Due to the current passport stock that Bermuda currently has available, the local process will be slightly varied for Phase 1.

Madam President, on average, the Department of Immigration issues 7,000 BOTC passports [adults and children] per year. Under the new processes, the responsibility for the application process will remain with the BOTs. Establishing this end to end solution meant that the Department of Immigration [along with all other BOTs] had to replace its current application processing system with a solution that fully supports the application approval process and which links securely to the IPS production system in the UK. I am happy to report that with both phases no staff will be displaced and there will be no requirement to increase the current headcount in the passport section of the Department of Immigration.

Madam President, as mentioned previously, the local process under Phase 1 is somewhat unique for Bermuda. Due to the current passport book stock [approximately 10,000 books], Bermuda will continue to personalize, print, and dispatch BOTC passports until Spring 2016. Notwithstanding this, the immediate changes on Friday June 5, 2015, will include the following:

  • New application forms will be required for each passport application [the forms will be uploaded on Immigration’s website at www.immigration.gov.bm]; and
  • New guidelines for the issuance of emergency passports will be strictly adhered to [the guidelines have been standardize across all BOTs].

It should be noted that the new fees will be determined upon confirmation of administrative costs associated with the courier services. To that end, I shall endevour to apprise the public accordingly.

The current turnaround time of eight [8] working days will remain while Phase 1 is in effect.

Madam President, I wish to highlight that applicants for BOTC passports will see the following changes in the future:

  • The passport application fees for adults and children will increase;
  • The emergency/express service fee will increase; and
  • Under Phase 2, the current turnaround time of eight [8] working days will increase to approximately 20 working days.

Madam President, Bermudians love to travel and in unfortunate circumstances; i.e. due to illnesses, Bermudians must travel. Therefore with knowledge that changes are imminent for the passport process, I am encouraging all BOTC passport holders to:

  • 1. be diligent in keeping their passports in a safe place to avoid having to replace them prematurely and being delayed with their travel plans,
  • 2. ensure that they take note of when their passports expire, and
  • 3. to apply for new passports in a timely manner; i.e. always be mindful of the Department of Immigration’s turnaround times.

Madam President, as I conclude, I commit to provide regular and meaningful updates to the general public, on this important initiative.

Thank you Madam President.

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (17)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. stunned... says:

    very disappointing news, increased costs and longer wait time (and things to go wrong) for a Bermuda passport.

    • OBA one term says:

      My question is when did Fahfah know about this? Get from behind the desk and update the public mate. You had to know this change months ago. Now everyone in Bermuda is going to rush to apply for a new passport.

      • Soooo says:

        This was reported in the news months ago…

  2. kevin says:

    wow… everything costs more .no surprise there…….and so unfortunate you may have to plan better …poor sight ..I feel for you….

  3. This government is bs says:

    Such total b.s. This government is getting out of hand. They want to implement all these changes but they never think how it will affect us THE PEOPLE.

    • Spectator says:

      “The transfer of these functions was a mandate of the UK Government; a mandate that was being imposed upon Bermuda and the following British Overseas Territories [BOTs]: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena, and Turks & Caicos Islands.”

      Please read before you write.

    • Kangoocar says:

      I can only guess you convenientley forgot to mention that the UK government is the reason why this has to happen, or did you even read the Ministers statement on this ?????? Typical plper, run your mouth, before you know the facts!!! Are you related to Walton by any chance???

    • big lad says:

      Perhaps you missed the part in the article where it says:

      “The transfer of these functions was a mandate of the UK Government; a mandate that was being imposed upon Bermuda and the following British Overseas Territories [BOTs]: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St. Helena, and Turks & Caicos Islands.

      So just in case you did, I put it there for you to see it again.

    • Politricks says:

      Reading and comprehension not your thing I take it…

    • filobedo21 says:

      Another ignorant response. Why don’t you read the whole article before making such a comment. The UK Government announced this ages ago, and the Bermuda Government has to comply. It has more to do with new Security concerns. If this stops some terrorist I am for it. And yes people will have to be better organized and plan to apply timely. I am glad I replaced my passport in 2014.

  4. Longtail says:

    You didn’t even bother to read the article did you BS….. if you had read at least read the first 5 lines you might have avoided making quite such a fool of yourself!

  5. IslandTeacher says:

    This all stems from the increased terror threat that UK grown terrorists are imposing. All passports have to have improved mechanisms to counter these issues.

    You just need to get your act together and apply early. You cannot expect to rock up any more. One thing the minister does not mention is the possible delays. Last summer was horrendous trying to get my Bermuda passport renewed in Europe. Only got it after a personal appeal to Keith Vaz. MP and Head of UK passport office. That was for a BOT Bermuda passport!!

  6. mj says:

    so in a world of advance technplogy we have fallen more and more behind.. go figure. nothing in life has been made easier from the advancement of technology accept a phone call, but we are not talking about connectivity, so we are obviously in a world that is digressive when it comes to assisting people who are not a threat and never have been… sad smdh, games people play..

  7. wow wow says:

    I wonder how much a bermy passport will cost for the canadians!

  8. Harry Buttle says:

    Discussed here:

    http://bernews.com/2013/09/plans-to-move-bermuda-passport-printing-to-uk/

    In fact we’re essentially getting another year out of the deal if we continue to print passports in Bermuda for the time being until our stock runs out and we move to “phase 2″.

    If anyone is surprised by this, they either haven’t been paying attention or have been asleep since September 2013.

    Ultimately we’ll be getting a passport that is more trustworthy anyway with greater fraud prevention controls. At present our current way of making a passport is lagging behind the world standard and will come under greater scrutiny if we don’t move forward.

  9. Ameboa says:

    Hmm …sent by courier. but the wait is twenty working days……effectively that is a month if you ask me. On that note could locals apply for a BOT if we are on vacation in the UK?

  10. Harry Buttle says:

    Probably more like two weeks with a week in transit. The UK Passport Office now regularly does non-complicated renewals in about 10 working days or less. Unlike the nightmare issues faced in 2014 most people I know (including myself) who have applied in 2015 have gotten a UK passport renewed in a couple weeks + transit time. Really they can get an application from here to the UK in about 1-2 days in the courier.

    It will be interesting to see however if they can wrap their heads around the BOTC passport process and not make a mess of it for the OT regions. We have had it good here, being able to apply and get a passport in a couple of weeks at a local authority.

    Time will tell – apply early if you want the book in your hand, wait until the system changes if you want the “new book”. I am guessing that the new format will have a chip and will more resemble the UK passport in style and format.