Time to change passport: citizens of Antigua and Barbuda need to obtain electronic documents by the end of 2021

December 2, 2020
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Citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda for investment: replacement of passports with biometric ones
Photo: Adobe Stock
Citizens must replace machine-readable passports with biometric ones by 31 December 2021. All old machine-readable passports will cease to be valid on 1 January 2022.

Citizenship programme participants receive a passport for their investment for 5 years first, and for an extension for 10 years. Antigua and Barbuda began issuing biometric passports in April 2017.

If an investor has received a passport before 2017 and did not submit fingerprints, it is not worth waiting for the old passport to expire. Machine-readable passports will no longer be valid from the beginning of 2022, after which it will not be possible to use them for entry into other countries.

How to distinguish a machine-readable passport from a biometric one

There is a quick way to check whether your passport is machine-readable or biometric. You need to pay attention to the cover of your passport.

Biometric passports have a chip icon at the bottom of the cover. If not, it means an old-style passport.

Паспорт Антигуа и Барбуды: отличие машиночитаемого паспорта от биометрического
On the left is an old-style machine-readable passport, on the right is a new biometric passport. Source: Antigua & Barbuda High Commission, 2020

Machine-readable passports have a special symbol chain at the bottom of the first page. The information about the passport holder is encoded in it. Symbols are recognised using optical technology, which is considered obsolete in 2020.

The chip icon on the cover is in the upper right corner of the first page of the biometric passport. The new passport does indeed contain a special chip on which data is stored with the owner’s fingerprints. Forging such a passport is more difficult than being machine-readable. At customs, information about the fingerprints is read by a special electronic device.

Holders of biometric passports are better protected against identity fraud. Passport controls at borders are faster because in many airports the process is fully automated. At Frankfurt Airport, for example, checking a biometric passport takes 15 seconds.

How to replace Antigua and Barbuda passport

Passport holders should contact the passport office on the islands themselves or the consulate of Antigua and Barbuda in other countries.

A citizen should fill out a special form in English.

Form for Antigua and Barbuda citizens over the age of 16. Source: Antigua & Barbuda High Commission, 2020.

A participant in the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship programme applies several documents to the completed form for investment. These include:

  • Birth certificate;

  • a certificate of naturalisation;

  • marriage certificate;

  • copies of pages with biometric data from a passport obtained in the country of birth.

It is very important to fill in the form without errors at once and submit the full set of documents. The consulate only accepts applications by appointment, so it can be difficult to make an appointment.

Immigrant Invest – licensed agent for the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship programme. We accompany the processing of the first passport and help renew documents after 5 and 10 years. If you need to replace your old passport with a biometric one, please contact our lawyers for assistance.

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