Holders of machine-readable passports will be allowed to use their travel documents until December, 2023 when they will be withdrawn from use.
The extension to 31st December, 2023, was granted by the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda during its meeting last week.
The cabinet explained that “the decision was taken in light of the continuing impact of global events on the ability of citizens here and abroad to meet the previous deadline of 31 December 2022”.
“All citizens of Antigua and Barbuda with a Machine-Readable Passport are advised that the document now becomes invalid on 1st January 2024,” a statement said.
Distribution of machine-readable passports ceased in April 2017 witht he introduction of ePassports.
“ePassports add a layer of security to traditional non-electronic passports by embedding an electronic chip in the passport booklet that stores the biographical information visible on page 2 of the passport, as well as a digital security feature.
“This digital security feature is a country specific “digital signature”. These digital signatures are unique and can be verified using their respective certificates,” the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) explained.
Application forms for ePassports are available at the Passport Office on Queen Elizabeth Highway, Antigua and Barbuda’s missions in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom and the government’s website, www.ab.gov.ag.
The Passport Office in Antigua and Barbuda can also be reached for further information by calling 462-0092.