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September 2, 2020

With ePassports proven to strengthen the security of Citizenship by Investment (CBI) passports, Dominica announces a move into biometric passports, while Saint Kitts is introducing biometric-shared background checks as part of its CBI programme due diligence.

Dominica has announced that in March 2021, it will be moving from Machine Readable Passports (MRP) to Biometric Passports (ePassports), according to an announcement made by the Minister for National Security and Home Affairs, Hon, Rayburn Blackmore.

Part of a €13 million investment in the upgrading and improvement of its border management system, Dominica’s new biometric passports will allow the country to establish a person of interest watchlist before such individuals enter the country. Border services will collect incoming travellers’ fingerprints and inspect secondary information.

“The most important aspect in our border security improvement is our migration from the machine-readable passport to our e-passport or biometric passport, which is almost counterfeit-proof,” the minister said in a prepared statement. “In March of 2021, we will be moving to new biometric passports in Dominica.”

Currently, some 89 countries worldwide use biometric passports, with 10 Citizenship by Investment Programme countries using them, including Malta, Cyprus, Montenegro and Turkey, and the Caribbean countries of Antigua & Barbuda (biometric fully in 2020), Grenada and Saint Kitts & Nevis.

Grenada was the sixth Caribbean country to introduce ePassports back in 2018, following Saint Kitts & Nevis and Antigua & Barbuda, and it is anticipated that by 2023, all Grenada passports issued will be machine-readable ePassports.

Featuring the latest technology chips, ePassports hold additional biometric features that include facial recognition, fingerprint recognition and iris recognition, adding an additional layer of security vital for securing borders. The chip can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.

As such, this delivers more robust security checks and can be used by countries offering Citizenship by Investment programmes during the due diligence stages of application processing for second passports.

Saint Kitts announced earlier this year that it would be rolling out biometric-shared background checks as a compulsory part of its due diligence process that every applicant must pass to be considered for Citizenship by Investment programme, ensuring thorough screening of applicants.

At his budget address earlier this year, Prime Minister Timothy Harris said that Saint Kitts and Nevis’ CBI programme continues to be “one of the best in the industry worldwide” and that the due diligence processes involved in checking each and every applicant for for citizenship “remain robust and unwavering”.