Any Jamaican living abroad will be able to apply for a new National Identification Card (abbreviated “NIDS”), according to a government official – but they’ll need to actually go to Jamaica to enrol their biometrics as part of the process.
Speaking at the recent Jamaica 60 Diaspora Conference, Floyd Green, a Cabinet Minister, explained that it “doesn’t matter if you are a Jamaican living in New York, the United Kingdom, or wherever in the world. Once you are a Jamaican citizen, you can get a national identification card.”
Minister Green was referring to the new national ID cards, which are poised to replace the country’s existing ID card after they officially start rolling out next year. Prior to that, according to a report from Caribbean National Weekly, the government will pilot NIDS enrolment this year, with an initial registration site to begin operations in August.
That first enrolment center will be located in Jamaica, as will all the others that follow. Those who apply for a new ID card will need to submit their face and fingerprint biometrics in person, though applicants will be able to submit biographic information – and even book an appointment – remotely, in advance.
The in-person enrolment requirement speaks to the growing importance of biometrics in governments’ interactions with the public around the world. Many governments now require the collection of citizens’ biometric information for official ID issuance, and a growing number are collecting the biometrics of non-citizens who are entering their domains.
The latter can apply even in emergency situations: seeking to welcome more Ukrainian refugees in the wake of Russia’s invasion, the Canadian government had sought to streamline the immigration process for those fleeing the conflict, but it retained a biometric enrolment requirement for the bulk of them – even though Canada did not have any operational biometric enrolment centers in Ukraine itself.
For its part, the Jamaican government envisions its new ID program as a comprehensive one, with Minister Green noting in his comments that citizens will be able to present the NIDS alone for all identification purposes, negating the need to provide any additional identity documents. That aim would theoretically necessitate even greater security in the enrolment process in order to prevent fraud, and on that note the Minister asserted that the NIDS will have more than double the number of security features that are currently found in the country’s existing ID cards.
Source: Caribbean National Weekly
June 22, 2022 – by Alex Perala