Photo: Government of Trinidad and Tobago. The new ID card has several security features, for example on tilting it, the owner's date of birth will become visible.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad–The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) launched a new styled National Identification Card on Monday, September 28, 2020.

The new ID card is made of a polycarbonate substrate and incorporates a sophisticated array of security features to ensure multi-layered protection against the threat of counterfeit and fraud. The new card is being introduced in line with current developments in election management and will be introduced on a phased basis.

In the initial phase the new cards will only be available to first-time applicants, persons replacing lost or stolen cards and those changing their names.

From January 2021, cards will be available to all registered persons. This will include all persons whose ID cards have expired and those due to expire in 2020, where the expiry dates were previously extended to December 31, 2020.

Renewals for expired ID cards will resume in January 2021 and will be conducted by appointments only. The public will be advised of this appointment system accordingly.

These cards are visibly different to the ones currently in use will eventually replace the cards, presently in circulation. National ID cards that have not yet expired remain valid and will be accepted everywhere national ID cards are required.

The EBC reiterates that at this time the new National ID cards are only available to first time registrants; those replacing lost/stolen cards and those persons conducting change of name transactions.

The ID card, the Commission says, is the most sought-after product and is also the preferred forms of national identification for a number of service providers in both the public and private sector. It is one of several products that are produced from the Commission’s registration system.

The procedure used in the processing of the application and the production of the I.D. Card is significantly different from that used in respect of some other national documents; e.g. Driver’s Permit and Passport.

While the issuance of a Driver’s Permit is normally a same-day transaction and the Passport is reportedly issued within a specified number of working days following an application, issuing an Identification Card to a first-time applicant is going to take longer.

The reason for this is not explained in the press announcement, but it is possible that batches of the cards will have to be sent overseas for printing and production.