British Overseas Territories passport process changes

As of Friday, May 8, the local Passport and Corporate Services Office will no longer accept the current C1 and C2 application forms for Cayman Islands passports.  

The Passport and Corporate Services Office is responsible for the collection, vetting and approval of passport applications. Once this process is complete, the passports will be printed by Her Majesty’s Passport Office in the U.K., then returned to the local Passport Office for distribution. 

Premier Alden McLaughlin said his Ministry of Home Affairs, which is responsible for the P&CSO, thanked the public for its understanding during this period of transition. 

“While this process was started before this administration took the helm of government,” he said in a press release, “I am happy that we have been able to have good, frank discussions with the U.K. about our own unique needs and desires for a Cayman Islands passport.”  

He added: “One of our concerns was keeping within our own house the ability to approve or deny passports and the distribution of documents, and we have been successful in that regard.” 

To assist with this process the Passport Office closed briefly for training on May 1 and will close again on Wednesday, May 6. 

Janice McLean, head of Passport and Corporate Services, noted that local applicants can expect some important changes to the process:  

New form: To print passports on behalf of the British Overseas Territories, Her Majesty’s passport application system requires information to be submitted in a specific layout. The local passport office now accepts the new British Overseas Territories forms. These are available on the Department of Immigration website: Meanwhile, the local Passport Office will accept current C1 or C2 application forms until May 8, at which point they will be discontinued. Customers should note that these passports will be machine readable and not biometric. 

Processing times: Customers are asked to allow a four-week window for processing, as passports will now be printed in the United Kingdom.  

Emergency and urgent travel: A policy on what constitutes urgent travel has been compiled and will be implemented uniformly across the overseas territories.  

Centralized printing will be phased in for all British Overseas Territories during May and June.  

The move to centralize British Overseas Territories passport production was in part to ensure that all British nationals have access to the latest biometric passports that feature internationally recognized security standards, according to the government press release.  

Printing passports in the U.K. also removes the need to deliver blank passports across the world, thereby helping to ensure the integrity and security of the British biometric passport, the government said in a statement. 

Last year, the premier was given assurances by U.K. officials that following repatriation to London of responsibility for the issuance of Overseas Territories passports, those issued to Cayman Islands residents will continue to bear the country’s name.