Belizeans Abroad Utilize Passport Hub Initiative in Santa Monica

Belizeans Abroad Utilize Passport Hub Initiative in Santa Monica

Belizeans in the diaspora have taken full advantage of the Passport Hub initiative in Santa Monica, California, USA.  More than five hundred appointments were made online and were honored since Monday.  Today is the third and final day for appointments in Santa Monica where Belizeans living abroad were able to update their immigration status in Belize either for themselves or their descendants.  A team from Belize’s Nationality and Passport Departments traveled over the weekend for the program.  Chief Executive Officer for immigration, Tanya Santos-Neal is leading the delegation.

Tanya Santos Neal, CEO, Immigration: “The team has been busy from Monday as you know here in Los Angeles for the entire week. But our Belizean diaspora have been coming. So far at midday today we had serviced already close to 200 people, 192 to be exact and the majority of that has been passports and the rest were nationality by descent. And we’re pretty much booked with appointments for the next two days at the summit, the diaspora summit. We will have, if you include walk-ins, more than 200 people. So we’re going to see very well over 500 Belizeans this trip and, you know, many people have been expressing their gratitude and congratulations for this initiative here. It saves them a lot of time, a lot of expenses as well to go to Belize just to deal with the passport or nationality issues. So it’s been well received, I have to say, and the Belizean diaspora here are very happy for the services being offered and brought to them here in their area. For now what we’re seeing are renewal of passports. And then second clearly is the nationality by descent, where you have the Belizean parents bringing their children for the application for their nationality. So those are the main two, but primarily it is the passport renewal. And some of the, I’d say 99% of the little challenges that we have were able to resolve. One or two we have had issues where it’s beyond our control when it has to do with an error in the spelling or a birth date from vital statistics on a birth certificate or something like that. We’ve had that issue, but those are very, very minor. We’ve counted, I think, one or two of those but majority of the issues we have been able to resolve and complete the application process.”

After today, the immigration and passport delegation will travel to Los Angeles for the 3-day Diaspora event featuring the Leader of the Opposition, Moses Shyne Barrow and Prime Minister John Briceno.  A program of events has been scheduled where those in diaspora can partake in sessions on political rights and sports.  They will also be able to join in the event, Fireside Chat with Leader of the Opposition tomorrow evening at the LAX Marriot.  Meanwhile, Prime Minister Briceno will be hosting members of the diaspora at a meet and greet session on Friday evening.  He will also be attending the Belize Investment Forum and Gala.

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