The Bahamas Integrated Immigration Management System
The Bahamas is a thriving tourist destination; efficient processing of arriving visitors is both an economic and a security issue for the island nation. And, with entry and exit points on several of its islands, the project to renew the Countries Border Management System (BMS) presented physical as well as technical challenges in its design and implementation.
After building its requirements for the BMS, The Bahamas government launched a competitive procurement and selected CBN to design, develop and deploy its Integrated Immigration Management System (IIMS). As part of our work to complete a comprehensive analysis of requirements, we documented the business processes that were in place to protect the country’s borders and grant prompt and efficient clearance to travelers. The result was a detailed technical specification that reflected the Department of Immigration’s needs while ensuring an enhanced and more reliable process for returning residents and arriving visitors.
The IIMS we developed in conjunction with our partners in The Bahamas includes Automated Fingerprint Identification (AFIS), a Permit system, Automated Passport Control (via Kiosk), Detainee Management and an Identity Document Management System for Permit Entitlement and Secure Permit Issuance. The project scope was extended to include an ePassport and ePassport Issuance and electronic Visa (eVisa) systems.
Once fully implemented, the IIMS will enable the department to actively and accurately monitor and track both arrivals and departures from the country with:
- A central intelligence database containing all travel crossings;
- The ability to integrate with the passport issuing system and retrieve/verify data in real time;
- The facility to automatically display previous crossings, retrieve visa, residency and permit records, and flag overstays;
- An automatic display of travelers with work and residency permits;
- Alerts for criminals and suspected individuals identified in the national Watch List;
- Alerts related to documents identified by INTERPOL;
- Automatic loading of Advanced Passenger Information (API) screening of all in-coming travelers; and
- Automated reading and validation of machine readable travel documents (passports, ePassports, and ID cards.
A phased roll out
CBN is implementing the solution in phases in order to ensure that each phase is well defined and that deployments are tightly managed lowering operational risk and allowing for proper user training. The Border Management System (BMS) was the first phase and was deployed to all points of entry into the country.
The BMS was then extended to include the pilot phase of the Automated Passport Control (APC) Program, which supports automated self-clearance for Bahamian nationals returning to the country. A Trusted Traveler program with a focus on foreign nationals who wish to use the APC technology represents the third phase.
The Identity Document Management System, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), Detainee Management System, Advanced Passenger Information (API) and Interpol Watchlist functionality then follow in sequence.
The final phase will include an electronic Visa (eVisa) solution.
The Bahamas processes an average of 6 million travelers through its borders every year;
Our systems are active at 10 entry and exit points in Bahamas and expanding to 30 entry points including mobile units to cover four marinas by the end of 2017;
Reduce passenger processing time at the border by half (from over one minute to under 30 seconds);
The introduction of Automated Passport Control Kiosks at the major international airport in Nassau is further reducing passenger border processing times.