Close to 30 persons applied for and received their passports today (June 1), under the new Same Day express service offered by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
The service, which costs $16, 500 was introduced today, as new passport fees became effective.
In an interview with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Jennifer McDonald, said the Same Day service was implemented at the request of clients.
“There is a demand…many persons would book (an airline) ticket, and then realise that their passport had expired, and they would rather pay (for the service) rather than have to pay the difference to re-book their flight,” she noted.
When applying for the Same Day service persons must do so by 10:00 am on the day, and the passport can be collected by 3:30 pm.
The PICA head told JIS News that the agency “is always seeking to meet the needs of its clients, and the new service is part of an initiative to improve the quality of our service to our customers.”
She said the experience of the last two weeks, where customers sought to get their passport services done ahead of the introduction of new rates, is indicative of the commitment of staff members to serve the public.
Ms. McDonald noted that the agency’s offices were temporarily relocated to the National Indoor Sports Centre and staff worked up to midnight some days. “It shows that we have an extremely good team at the agency,” she said.
Marsha Smith, who was the first person to collect her passport using the Same Day express service, said the process was “simple and easy, and I am glad that they have (it). I needed this for an emergency. My ticket says 3:30 pm, and I got it at 3:30 pm, so the service was good,” she told JIS News.
Manchester resident, Damion Candell, another customer, who utilised the Same Day service, also expressed satisfaction.
“I need to travel by Wednesday (June 3), so it is a good thing. It was pretty easy, there was nothing hard in it; they were on time,” he told JIS News.
The Same Day express service is only offered at PICA’s head office on Constant Spring Road in St. Andrew.
It complements the next day, three-day, 11-day, 14-day and regular seven-day services, which the agency currently provides.
Effective today, the price of a regular adult passport moves from $4, 500 to $6,500 while the passport for a minor moves from $2,700 to $4000.
By Garfield L. Angus
Photo by: Mark Bell