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CARICOM passport comes with new
But if you’re heading east, the new
CARICOM passports have just been released
and should make traveling hassle free in the
Caribbean region. As we’ve reported, they
come with a new look and have a number of
built in features that made the document
stand out. The passport, which is now
forty-eight pages thick and valid for ten
years, will allow Belizeans an automatic six
month stay in any member state of CARICOM.
And according to Director of Immigration,
Gareth Murrillo, who appeared on our Open
Your Eyes breakfast show this morning, the
new design is also packed with security
Gareth Murrillo, Director of Immigration
“Now all of this particular text and the
national symbols on the inside of the front
cover, they’re done with a security ink
called intaglio ink. It’s raised. You can
rub your finger over it and it does have a
feel; it does have a texture. It’s not a
very cheap process.”
“But this is a security feature of the
“Yes, this is a security feature, yes.
The thing with intaglio ink and how you know
it is quality intaglio is it never dries. We
also have on the pages, particularly on the
inside of this front cover; this design
would be referred to as a guilloché. It’s
just a French word; all it is is a pattern
of wavy lines. If it were to be magnified
under a microscope that is the depth of it,
you would see that this is just a pattern of
wavy lines on the underneath.”
“And on the pages itself?”
“On the pages itself, you will note we
have the mahogany tree, which is on every
“First they’re doing the bio-data page and
again, you have the dual image.”
“Yes, the smaller image is referred to in
security terms as a ghost image. What we
have done on that bio-data page is over that
ghost image we have on the laminate itself,
which is the plastic that covers that
particular page, we have a color shifting
image of our statement ‘Sub Umbra Floreo’.
Just beneath the laminate on the page,
beneath where the two lines of code goes
which make the passport machine readable, in
this pink and blue just below it spells out
the word Belize.”
Murrillo says some of the other security
features of the passport require forensic
equipment to test for validity.
The Immigration Department is also planning
to issue a card that will allow Belizeans to
travel to Chetumal without a passport. The
card will be implemented so that passport
holders will not have to use their passports
for travel just across the border.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Press release 86/2009
(17 March 2009)
BELIZE BECOMES TWELFTH MEMBER STATE TO ISSUE CARICOM
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater
Georgetown, Guyana) All twelve Member States participating
in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) are now
issuing the CARICOM passport.
This week Belize became the twelfth CARICOM Member State to
introduce the document during a ceremony held in the capital
A CARICOM passport, which features the CARICOM logo and the
words “Caribbean Community” printed on the cover, is a
National passport which is issued in accordance with agreed
common colours and format for intra-regional and
The Coat of Arms and the name of the Member State are also
featured on the cover.
The issuance of the CARICOM passport was agreed to by Heads
of Government and the document is seen as a defining symbol
The first CARICOM passport was issued on 7 January 2005 and
since that time Member States have introduced the CARICOM
passport when the stock of their old passports were
Belize-CARICOM passports finally
In 2005 CARICOM countries began
converting their passports to a regional
document. Suriname was the first country to
do so and today Belize became the last. It
was that reason why Belizeans have been
having trouble renewing or obtaining new
passports as the Ministry of Immigration and
National Security awaited the arrival of a
shipment of the new travel documents.
Tonight the Belize-CARICOM passports are
being issued... and as News Five’s Kendra
Griffith found out, it comes with a modern
look and special perks.
Kendra Griffith, Reporting
This morning Minister of National Security
Carlos Perdomo was one of the first
Belizeans to be issued the new CARICOM
passport in a ceremony where the travel
document was officially unveiled in
Carlos Perdomo, Minister of National
“This new passport is a part of measures
aimed at promoting hassle-free travel for
CARICOM nationals within the region. It is
intended that the Belize CARICOM passport
will create awareness that we are an
integral part of the regional Caribbean
Community as well as of being uniquely a
Gareth Murillo, Director of Immigration
“It is still a Belize passport; it is
still a national document. The difference is that this one now is a CARICOM
passport, it is a regional passport. It is intended to be a symbol of
regionalism and integration with the other CARICOM countries. The pages have
a lot of our national symbol on them, we have updated to more modern
technology the security aspects of the passport.”
“in what regards?”
“In several regards in terms of the
printing of the passport, in terms of the manufacturing of the passport.”
There are three colours: blue for ordinary
citizens, green for service personnel, and red for diplomats. The passport
will be valid for ten years, has forty-eight pages, and entitles Belizeans
to an automatic six month stay in member states. But if you haven’t already
applied for yours, you’ll have a long wait ahead of you.
“We haven’t been processing passports
over the last several weeks and a significant backlog has developed. We will
need time to clear that backlog. We are intending to work late evenings and
on weekends to clear that backlog. We should get through with clearing that
backlog within six to eight weeks and at that time, we can resume with the
normal processing time.”
“So if I need a passport right now, I
probably won’t be able to get one?”
“What we are saying right is if you are
intending to travel, give us at least a month, give us at least four weeks
to process your passport.”
Director of Immigration Gareth Murillo is
nonetheless encouraging residents to update
their passports for the newer version.
“We have been issuing machine readable
passports now since 2005, but we still have
a significant number of people who have not
as yet upgraded their passports. I believe
that now is an appropriate time to move away
from those handwritten passports and go up
to the machine readable passport now.”
Belize was the last member country to
implement the regional passport, but we were
among the first six countries to sign on to
the CARICOM Single Market and Economy in
2006. The C.S.M.E. allows the free flow of
labour, goods, and capital among
Shawn Richards, Focal Point, C.S.M.E.
“People are still not aware of this
animal we call the C.S.M.E. I think we still
have to put more effort in putting it out
there and selling it to the people of
Shawn Richards is the Focal Point for the
C.S.M.E. in the Directorate of Foreign
Trade... She says passport aside, Belize is
on track with its implementation.
“We have complied with everything so far.
Right now we are in process that we have to
really get doing some more legal adjustments
as respect to the free movement of persons.
They have added some more categories to the
five, so now we have nine categories that
can move freely within the whole spectrum of
the region from member state of member
The category of persons able to move around
now includes artists, musicians, university
graduates, athletes, persons, media workers,
artisans, nurses and teachers, and persons
with associate degrees. Richards says there
are several Belizeans who are already
utilizing the free movement... but others
are still wary.
“Most people I think are afraid of the
issue of free movement. I don’t know if you
might get that sense too as a part of the
media and when you’ve done your interviews
and you’re moving around. That’s basically
what—every time you go out there, that is
the issue you hear out there. People will
come and take away the jobs.”
“Is that likely?”
“To me it’s not a reality. I believe that
the C.S.M.E. would be like an enhancement
because you always hear people say we don’t
have capacity with respect to human capacity
to do certain things. People can look at
this as a way to enhance because now you can
look at your labour force not only being of
Belize, now you can go to Jamaica. We don’t
have to restrain to Belize and similarly the
people there can say they don’t have to stay
in Jamaica they can come out and work. And
to me it will be that you will build
Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.
To utilize the free movement you have to
get a skills certificate. That is currently
being done through the Ministry of
Education, however, there are plans to
establish an accreditation board.
Before downloading the application form,
carefully review the instructions below.
The fees listed are in Belize currency and apply only to applications
submitted in person at the Immigration and Passport Office of the
Immigration and Nationality Department in Belize City. Contact the
office of the Consul General in California for required application fees in
U.S. currency or for additional information.
You may download the application form from either the Government of Belize's
website or from this local site.
To view and print the application form and instructions
(saved in PDF format), you will need the Adobe® Reader®.
If you do not have Adobe® Reader® installed on your computer, you can
download and install for free. Simply click the icon below.
BELIZE PASSPORT APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
Please read the instructions below before
completing the passport application form.
1. THIS FORM SHOULD BE CLEARLY WRITTEN IN PRINT WITH BLACK OR
2. SECTIONS 1 AND 4 OF THIS FORM MUST BE COMPLETED BY ALL APPLICANTS.
3. SECTIONS 2 AND 3 MUST BE COMPLETED BY THOSE TO WHOM THEY APPLY.
4. THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS ENGLISH AND ALL DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED MUST EITHER BE
IN ENGLISH OR BE ACCOMPANIED BY A CERTIFIED ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THAT
Authentication of application.
The application form must be authenticated and sponsored in Section 5 by a
Member of the House of Representatives, Permanent Secretary, Justice of the
Peace, Minister of Religion, Medical or Legal Practitioner, Notary Public, or
Head of any Department of the Government of Belize.
In the case of a person applying abroad at a Belizean Embassy, High Commission,
Consulate or Consular Agency, authentication must be by a registered Medical
or Legal Practitioner, Notary Public, or Registered Minister of Religion.
Documents to be produced.
If the applicant is:
a) a Belizean by birth (born in Belize) - birth certificate from the Registrar
General’s office (for those applying for the first time and those
replacing lost, destroyed, or stolen passports) ; previous passport (for those
replacing/renewing available passports.)
b) a Belizean by descent [born outside Belize to Belizean parent(s) but
naturalized] - (i) birth certificate from native country and (ii) his/her
by descent document or other evidence of Belizean nationality.
c) a Belizean by registration (born outside Belize but has become a citizen
through naturalization) - (i) native birth certificate or passport and (ii)
d) a married woman – all of the above that apply plus a marriage certificate
(issued by vital statistics or registrar’s office.)
e) a divorced woman wishing to revert to her maiden name – all of the above that
apply plus the divorce certificate.
Photo identification is required from all.
This may be in the form of social security and voter registration cards.
Driver’s licenses are not acceptable.
For the applicant whose previous passport is now unavailable for submission (be
it destroyed, lost, or stolen), a statutory declaration attesting to its’
particulars and the reasons for its’ unavailability along with a report from the
Police indicating that the incident leading to the unavailability has been
recorded are to be submitted. The statutory declaration, only, is also a
requirement for those whose passport is available for presentation but
has become damaged.
A change of name other than by marriage must be substantiated by the production
of evidence showing that a bona fide change has been made for all
a) for an ordinary passport (32 pages) - $30.00
b) for an emergency passport (within five (5) working days – 32 pages) - $55.00
b) to replace a lost, damaged, or stolen passport - $50.00
All fees are payable in cash.
What to do with the completed form.
The completed form with all necessary documents and fee must be presented
personally at the Immigration and Passport Office, Belize City, Immigration and
Headquarters, Belmopan, the Immigration Offices in the district towns of Corozal,
Orange Walk, San Pedro, Dangriga, and Punta Gorda or at the Belize Foreign
Mission in Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., U.S.A., London, U.K., Taipei,
Taiwan, and Panama City, Panama. Application forms may be obtained from any of
Passport applications are normally processed within fifteen (15) days.
Applications for passports should reach the local offices at least five (5)
working days before that on which the passport is required. In the case of
persons applying abroad, this is determined by the Foreign Mission; note that
fees and processing time at these Missions may vary.
applicant and the recommender:
It is a prosecutable offence [contrary to Sections 3 (e) and (h), Chapter 164,
Laws of Belize] to make any false representation with respect to information
requested by this form.