A strong police detachment was on hand Wednesday at the Passport Office located on Constant Spring Road in St Andrew, where scores of people gathered at the gate..
The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) on Sunday said that as of Tuesday, May 26, the cost of a regular adult passport will move from $4,500 to $6,500, while the passport for a minor will move from $2,700 to $4,000.
In addition, replacing lost passports for adults will cost $11,500 (up from $9,500) and $7,000 (up from $5,700) for minors. Faced with an anticipated rush by persons applying for passports ahead of the fee hike, the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, PICA, went ahead and implemented a quota system.
PICA was on Tuesday forced to halt the receipt of applications early as the number of customers grew beyond capacity. At midday, 762 persons had applied for passports which was 80%t of the 945 individuals served at its locations last Tuesday.As a result, PICA has introduced quotas at its outstations for the rest of the week to ensure the safety of applicants.
PICA said they will process 150 applications at its Mandeville office, 250 in Montego Bay, 100 each in St Ann's Bay and May Pen, 90 in Portmore and 1,000 at its headquarters on Constant Spring Road. The number of work stations at its offices has been increased from 27 to 39.
However, people at the PICA office on Wednesday morning made it clear that they were trying to get their documents before the new fees came into effect.The rush of customers to the institution caused a massive traffic pile-up along the Constant Spring and other adjoining roads as the long lines extended from the gate of the institution to the surrounding sidewalks.
Several customers were left fuming because of the long wait and it was subsequently announced that the Passport Office had closed for the day as it had reached its quota of 1,000 applications by 8:30am.