Passport services in the country continued to expand despite challenges imposed by Covid-19 pandemic. During his contribution to the budget debate, June 7, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Darren Henfield said that work continued despite pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
“Despite the challenges with office closure and rotation of staff, the Passport Office, its sub-offices and the Bahamas Consulate offices maintained operations and issued passports throughout the 2020/21 fiscal period,” said Minister Henfield. He reported that in December 2020, the online portal was expanded to allow renewal of passports for applicants ages 15-17 years.
“In addition, the digital portal was incorporated into the Government’s Interoperability Platform (mygateway.gov.bs) which permits the application and collection of passports and other government issued documents from a central location,” explained the Minister.
The Passport Office extended its services via the opening of satellite offices on several Family Islands commencing with Exuma in February, Inagua and Long Island in March, and Eleuthera in April.
In the coming weeks, two additional Passport Offices will be opened—one in Bimini and one in North Andros. “The revenue collected by the Passport Office, its sub-offices and the Bahamas Consulates for the period of 1 July 2020 to May 2021 was $1,183,045.00,” he said.