‘All systems are go’ for the introduction of the Single Domestic Space in Barbados from tomorrow, Thursday, February 1, when a new era in Caribbean regional unity will be ushered in.
Established to facilitate easy movement during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, persons belonging to the single domestic space will be able to move from country to country without having their passports stamped, but must present their completed E/D forms to immigration officials.
Passports will still be required for identification purposes and immigration officers will retain the right to conduct an in depth interview if deemed necessary.
When moving from one country to another, individuals will be issued with a secured CARICOM wristband to facilitate hassle free movement. This will serve to identify those persons who are moving throughout the single domestic space.
The 10 countries comprising the single domestic space are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
According to Barbados’ Chief Immigration Officer, Gilbert Greaves, the requisite staff had been deployed at the air and sea ports and all desks at these ports of entry are expected to be fully manned, especially during peak periods, so as to better facilitate the efficient and speedy movement of persons.
Commenting on the new visa arrangements introduced for the Cricket World Cup, the senior official stated that the CARICOM Special Visa issuing equipment was already here. He stressed, however, that those persons who had been asked to leave the country within the past five years would be refused entry.
Persons, including children from ALL countries, are required to apply for the CARICOM Special Visa except nationals of the following countries:CARICOM Countries except HAITI, Canada, France and its Overseas Countries and Territories, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands and its Overseas Countries and Territories, United Kingdom and dependent territories, United States and dependent territories, South Africa, Spain and any other nationals who already enjoy, before February 1, 2007, a form of status conferred by any of the immigration authorities of the 10 countries which form the single domestic space and which covers the period of the persons intended stay.
It is recommended that families (parents and dependents) submit their applications at the same time. The CARICOM Special Visa rules allow children 12 years of age and under to be exempt from payment of the $100 US visa application fee to enter the single domestic space.
Also exempted from having to obtain the Special Visa are air to sea and sea to air transfers, as well as cruise ship passengers arriving in port and moving directly from one terminal to the other.
During the period February 1 to May 15, visitors to the region bearing the CARICOM Special Visa, once they have cleared immigration and customs in one country, will be free to travel to all of the other nine countries as if they were a single nation.