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Hopes to print passports on island

Minister Walton Brown

Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said yesterday he hoped that Bermuda passports will be printed on the island again within a year.

The UK Government took over responsibility for printing passports for British Overseas Territories Citizens in June 2016 because of security concerns.

But Mr Brown said there was no reason why Bermuda passports should be printed in the UK rather than in Bermuda.

He added: “We are in the process of identifying what the costs would be of bringing the process back to Bermuda.

“The Request for Information is just about to go out.

“The challenging part of us is to persuade the UK Government to relinquish their control of the printing of our passports.

“We were doing it for an extended period of time and we never lost a passport.

“We have the technical ability on island and there is no defensible reason why the UK should hold on to the printing of our passports.”

Mr Brown said that he would have to travel to the UK and meet British government representatives to bring the process back to Bermuda.

He added: “My goal is to have it done within the year.

“I have one passport — I don’t want to get another, and when I get that passport renewed I want to get it printed here.”

The relocation of the printing process to the UK has led to delays in passport issuing and complications with the coding, which now read GBR rather than BMU.

This has created problems for people with a Bermuda passport entering the US from outside Bermuda, as some have been told they are required to have a US Electronic System for Travel waiver because they have the GBR code.

But Bermudian status holders do not require an ESTA and it is technically illegal for Bermuda status holders to even apply for one.