He said via a live press briefing on September 3, 2021, that this was among the changes coming to the portal following talks with ‘various stakeholders’.
“The way forward involves making some changes to the gateway portal which we hope will improve the ease of use of the system for residents and visitors. Under the previous system, all applications for fully vaccinated travellers, partially vaccinated travellers and unvaccinated travellers were processed manually by a team of persons from various departments.”
Over the past few months; however, the volume of applications from persons wanting to travel into the Virgin Islands has increased significantly, and this would have contributed to longer processing times on occasions due to incorrect information being uploaded.
These incorrect information spans from individuals submitting travel insurance with no COVID-19 coverage, COVID-19 test results that are not approved, such as saliva and antibody tests, incorrect vaccination cards or persons claiming to be vaccinated when they were not.
“Now, with the application process for fully vaccinated persons being automated, fully vaccinated persons will be able to get their travel authorisation certificate automatically once they have uploaded their documents correctly at the time of registration. The system will automatically generate the travel authorisation certificate instead of it being done manually as was the case in the past,” Premier Fahie said.
“I must emphasise that although the system is automated for fully vaccinated travellers, random review of approved applications will be made to further verify documentation if any discrepancies are found, the approval will be immediately revoked.”
Premier Fahie said another change to the portal will be the immediate removal of the Customs and Immigration Forms from the portal.
“This would reduce the amount of time persons spent completing their applications. We are progressing to automate the process for fully vaccinated persons to get their approvals,” he stated.
The travelling public should also be aware that they ought to present proof of vaccination, negative results for an approved COVID-19 test along with their gateway travel portal application when they arrive in the territory.
If they do not provide authentic documentation, they could face fines of up to $10,000.