In the Grand Anse Declaration, Heads of Government agreed that from December
1990 all CARICOM nationals should be free to travel within the Community without
the need for passports.
The overwhelmingly popular support for this decision was conveyed to the West
Indian Commission time and time again throughout its consultations and as a
result, the issue of hassle-free travel was identified by the Commission in its
1991 Progress Report, as one of the six areas for immediate action.
Hassle Free Travel refers to the freedom of CARICOM nationals to travel "into
and within the jurisdiction of any Member State without harassment or the
imposition of impediment". This is intended to foster a greater sense of
community. It is also designed to encourage greater intra-CARICOM tourism.
Implementing hassle free travel has not proven as easy as might be expected,
however, given the need to reconcile the differing requirements within Member
States (between the immigration and tourism departments, for example) and among
Member States. The forms of identification that are acceptable to some Member
States include: travel permits; ID cards with photographs; birth certificates;
and, drivers’ licences. However, among the countries which accept these forms of
identification, limits are still imposed with respect to the specific countries
whose nationals will be allowed to use the facility.
Two accompanying elements of hassle free travel are the use of common
embarkation and disembarkation cards (E/D Cards), i.e. the forms which all
persons entering Member States are required to complete (commonly referred to as
immigration forms/cards), and the establishment of common lines at ports of
entry for citizens, residents and CARICOM nationals. These lines are in place in
all Member States apart from The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. In The
Bahamas, people entering the country are free to use any line while in Trinidad
and Tobago, there are specific lines for CARICOM nationals.
Heads of Government agreed to the issuance of a CARICOM passport by Member
States as a defining symbol of regionalism. The introduction of the
CARICOM passport is also part of the measures to promote hassle-free travel for
A CARICOM passport is a National passport which is being issued in accordance
with an agreed format for intra-regional and extra-regional travel.
On the cover it will have the logo of CARICOM and the words "Caribbean
Community". The Coat of Arms and the name of the Member State are also featured on the
The CARICOM passport also creates awareness that CARICOM Nationals are
Nationals of the Community, as well as a specific country.
In 2005, Suriname was the first Member State to have issued the CARICOM
Passport (7 January 2005), followed by St Vincent and the Grenadines (20
June 2005), St Kitts and Nevis (25 October 2005)
and Dominica (14 December 2005). Antigua and Barbuda, issued the new Passport
on 16 January 2006.
On 16 January 2007, Saint Lucia became the sixth Member State to have
introduced the Passport, followed by the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
on 24 January 2007. Grenada introduced the CARICOM Passport
on 29th January 2007.
Guyana introduced the CARICOM Passport on 13 July 2007, and Barbados
on 1 October 2007. Jamaica and Belize introduced the CARICOM
Passport on 2 January 2009 and 16 March 2009 respectively.
As a result, all twelve Member States participating in the CARICOM
Single Market and Economy (CSME) are now issuing the CARICOM passport.
(19 March 2009)