We invite readers to send an email to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) requesting information on any matter of concern that you may have as it pertains to applying for a National Identification card (ID), ‘Change of Address/Name, Registration of a Death or on Election Management issues etc.
The EBC will then respond to your question in a Q&A format which will be published every Wednesday in the Trinidad Express. This will enable us to assist citizens as you transact business at our various Registration Area and Sub Registration Area Offices located throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
For information please visit the Elections and Boundaries Commission’s website at www.ebctt.com.
I recently got married and wish to change my name of my ID to now include my marriage name. I also have a deed poll which was previously administered. Will this be a problem?
If you had a deed poll administered prior to getting married and did not present it to our registration office to change your name on your ID card then you would be required to produce the document together with your marriage certificate and your present ID card in order to get your name changed. However, the existing deed poll would have renounced the use of the name on the present ID card and the marriage certificate should have your name according to the deed poll, if not, then you will be required to apply for a new deed poll.
I work as a cashier in a grocery, when I asked my employer for time – off to vote I was told to use my lunch hour to do so. I did not vote as travelling to and from my polling station exceeded one hour. How much time am I entitled to vote?
Time Off for voting as stipulated in the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2: 01 Laws of Trinidad and Tobago is as follows:
Section 36 (2) - “Every employer shall on polling day allow every elector in his employ the prescribed period for voting and no employer shall make any deductions from the pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during that period.”
Additionally, Election Rule 28 states that “Every employer shall permit each elector in his employment to be absent from his work on polling day during the hours of the poll for two hours in addition to normal mid-day meal” and;
Section 93 also goes further to indicate that, “An employer who fails to comply with any of the provisions of Section 36(2) and any person who directly or indirectly by intimidation, undue influence, or in any other way interferes with the granting to an elector of the prescribed period for voting referred to in that subsection is liable on summary conviction to a fine of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000.00) or to imprisonment for twelve months”.
My identification Card expires in six (months) can I renew it before the expiration date, and can I also visit any one of the Registration Area Offices other than the one which I am currently registered to conduct this transaction?
Identification Card (ID card) can only be renewed from two (2) months before its expiration date. No, the registrant must visit the Registration Area Office in which he/ she lives.
Why can't someone collect my Identification Card on my behalf?
Registration Rule 14(6) of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2:01 inter alia states:
"A person to whom a completed identification card is being delivered shall read it and sign it in the presence of the registration officer, or any other authorised officer if he is satisfied that the contents are correct".
N.B: Persons who are in possession of a Power of Attorney or Letters of Authorization are prohibited from the collection of the registrant’s identification card.
I am a T&T citizen living overseas for some years and would like to obtain a Trinidad and Tobago Identification Card for me and my two children who are over 15 years of age. What are the requirements for registration?
For registration a person is required to have a T&T Birth Certificate, a valid Passport, and a Marriage Certificate, if applicable. For the children the requirements are, Birth Certificate, Naturalization Certificate/ Passport.
Email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a CARICOM citizen with a CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Certificate working in Trinidad and Tobago over the last three (3) years. Am I eligible to apply for a National Identification Card? What are the requirements?
In order to apply for a National Identification Card, you must be a citizen or resident of Trinidad and Tobago. CARICOM citizens who currently work in Trinidad and Tobago and wish to apply for residential status must first visit the Immigration Department and submit an application to this effect. Once successful, and the residential certificate has been obtained you will then be able to apply for an Identification Card at the EBC’s Registration Area Office. These persons are also required to bring along their birth certificate and requisite travel documents for registration.
I recently misplaced my Identification Card and was told by the Registration Area Officer that I need to have a police report done and a sworn affidavits before I can have a replacement card. Why is this?
Once a registrant recognizes that his/her Identification Card has either been misplaced stolen or destroyed, the EBC requires that person first make a formal report to the Police. The registrant will then be required by law to do a Statutory Declaration [Representation of the People Act, Chapter, 2:01- Registration Rule 47 (b)] in the form of a sworn affidavits by a Justice of the Peace.
There shall be payable for every replacement identification card-
- In the case of the first issue, ten dollars ($10.00)
- In the case of any other further issue, twenty dollars ($20.00)
I recently changed address, can I still use my current Identification Card to conduct business?
You can still use your current Identification Card to conduct business, however we do advise that you visit your registration area office at a convenient time to have your registration record updated. Failure do such, can result in inaccurate information published by the EBC on its list of qualified electors.
What is the criteria for determining the number of electors in a Polling Station?
It is recommended that the number of electors at any given Polling Station has a maximum of 750 persons.
I used my birth certificate to get my ID card and I now wish to change the order of my names. Can I use an Affidavit to correct this?
In accordance with the advice from the office of the Registrar General, an affidavit can only be used to provide details which does not appear on the Birth Certificate, such as, to add a name or correct spelling errors in the mother’s, fathers or child’s name. However, a Deed Poll will be required to change the order of the given name/s recorded on the birth certificate.
A Deed Poll for a change of name contains three declarations and by executing the Deed Poll (signing, dating and having your signing witnessed) you are legally committing yourself to:
- Abandoning the use of your former name;
- Using your new name only at all time;
- Requires that all persons address you by your new name only
In summary, a Deed Poll issued will provide you with documentary evidence that you have changed your name, enabling you to get all your official documents and records changed to your new name.
I am a married woman and now wish to apply for my Identification Card for the very first time. I do not have the polymer certificate from the Registrar General’s Department only the computer generated certificate previously issued. Do I have to get the polymer certificate for my ID card?
Previously issued computer generated certificate or polymer certificate are both valid for registration and can therefore be used to apply for an ID card.
I live in Tobago but work in Trinidad. It has always been difficult for me to travel to Tobago on Election Day to vote. Does the EBC have anything in place for people like me?
You can apply for Special Elector status to the Elections and Boundaries Commission. Once your application has been approved you will then be able to vote at one of the Special Polling Stations established by the EBC before polling day.
I am the owner of a home for elderly citizens and there are a couple of persons who reside there that are in need of an ID card or to have a renewal, but they are unable to do so because of their physical challenges. Can the EBC assist these persons in anyway?
Arrangements can be made to have these persons registered. We require that you first contact the Registration Area Office via written correspondence and an officer will then visit the home to determine the status of the individuals. After which, if the requirements are met they will be registered at the home and their ID cards will be subsequently delivered to them when the transaction is completed. This facility also applies to anyone who is physically incapacitated and is unable to visit the registration offices to conduct business. Once the request is made to the designated Registration Area Office, it will be taken into consideration.
For a listing of our Registration Area Offices please check the EBC’s website.
I was born in Trinidad and Tobago but have been residing abroad for a number of years and I am still a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. I wish to apply for my ID card however, I only have a foreign passport. What documents do I need to produce when I visit the EBC’s Registration Office?
You are required to produce you computerized birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable) and passport. Before applying to the EBC though, you must first visit the Immigration Office (Landing Status Section) with you naturalization certificate to either apply for a Trinidad and Tobago Passport or to have the Immigration Officer stamp your passport with the required validation stamp - [Section 4(1)] attesting to you being a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.
Section 4(1) of the Immigration Act, Chapter 18:01 states, “A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago has the right to be admitted in Trinidad and Tobago”.
My family and I have migrated for some time now but I realize that both the names of my wife and I still appear on the Annual list of Electors. What do I need to do to have it removed?
The registrants should visit the Registration Area Office in their district as in accordance with Registration Rules 41 (11)3 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2: 01 Laws of Trinidad and Tobago – “Not resident in Trinidad and Tobago for the required period” - and inform the Registration Officer, who would then verify the information and take the necessary follow-up action. The registrants are also required to bring along their passports to substantiate their claims.
I celebrated my 18th birthday one week before the last Local Government Elections and I was very excited to vote. Can you imagine my disappointment when I went to vote and was told that I was not qualified to vote in this elections. How can this happen?
A person who is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of the age of eighteen years or upwards is qualified to vote at an election once he/she has resided in that electoral district for at least two (2) months preceding the ‘Qualifying Date’, which is the 9th day after the date fixed for the commencement of electoral registration. As such, all registrants must meet the qualifying criteria to be an elector on or before this date. You would turned have turned 18 years after the qualifying date, hence the reason you were not eligible to vote.
If both parents names are on your birth certificate and they are not married, can you carry both their surnames putting your father’s first and mother’s surname last on your ID card?
If you are applying for your first National ID card and your parents were unmarried at the time of your birth you can have both their surnames placed on your card as your surname, provided that you can show proof that either;
(1) you have used the name throughout your school life by way of a letter from the school or examination certificate (s) or
(2) show other form of ID such as a Passport.
However if you already are in possession of a valid National ID card under either parents surname but you wish to now carry both surnames on your ID , a Protocol of Deed or Deed Poll is required .
I would like to register my vehicle to be used during elections, does the EBC have application forms and what is the process?
All applications for persons who are desirous of registering their motor vehicles as electoral vehicles must be sent directly to the Police for consideration. Applications are to be written and should be submitted as set out in accordance with the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2: 01 – 38(1),"At any time between nomination day and the fifth day next before polling day any duly nominated candidate or the election agent of the candidate may by notice in writing require the appropriate police officer to register as electoral vehicle on behalf of the candidate".
I was living abroad for many years but have now returned home to reside permanently, my name was taken off the List of Electors and I would like to have it reinstated. What is the procedure?
Because your place of residence was not in Trinidad and Tobago, it is likely that your registration would have been cancelled. You are therefore required to visit the Registration Area Office in your district with your birth certificate and Passport to be re- registered. Furthermore, to be qualified as an elector for an electoral district you must have resided in that electoral district for a period of at least two (2) months preceding the qualifying date.
I recently applied for my ID card for the first time and was told that the process would take a while before I receive it. Why does it take so long, as against getting my Driver’s permit which I got it in a day? Please explain.
As required by law, whenever a person is registered at the EBC for their identification card that registration must be verified by a field investigation in order to ascertain that the information given is accurate. After the verification of information is completed the registration will then be sent for printing and laminating.
Once this process is over, the Identification cards will finally be sent to the respective Registration Area Office for delivery. Therefore an identification card would normally take longer than a Driver’s Permit because of the various processes outlined.
I currently live in a rental property, my ID card will expire in about one month's time. I would like to renew it when that happens but at the same time I am expected to re-locate to a new address in the New Year. Should wait until I am at my new address to renew my ID card?
We advise that you renew your ID card before the expiration date, the EBC requires that all ID cards be renewed at least two (2) before their expiration date. In addition, we also recommend that when you have re-located to your new address and have resided there for at least two (2) months that you return to the Registration Area Office and inform them about your change of address. Thereafter, steps will be taken to have your registration records updated.
I would like to apply for an ID card but I don’t have a birth certificate since I was adopted at a very early age. What do I need to produce at the EBC?
Yes you can apply for your national identification card. However you must provide the legal adoption certificate issued by the Ministry of Legal Affairs which would contain information as to your birth date, country of birth, name and your adoptive parents or parents’ name. There is therefore no need to produce a birth certificate. Please note however that a legal custody or legal guardianship order cannot be accepted.
For the last Local Government Election in 2016, I wanted to register for the first time to vote and was told by the Registration Area Officer, that the EBC wasn’t able to facilitate me because I had only moved into my new house at my new address in about 6 weeks. Why is this?
It must be noted that during an Electoral Registration Period persons wishing to register or regularize their voting status in order to vote at an Elections must be qualified to do so according to the Representation of the People's Act Chapter 2:01 Section 13 subsection 1(a) to (e)and in particular subsection(d) which states “that a person is qualified to be an elector for an electoral district at a municipal council election who has resided for a period of at least two months immediately preceding the qualifying date in that electoral district.....”
(The qualifying date is the 9th date after the fixed date of commencement of electoral registration). Generally this is the reason why persons might be turned away from registering.
I recently was at a bank doing business and notice a lady with an orange colour ID card, what is the difference from the blue colour ID card which I have in my possession?
Identification cards issued by the EBC can either be blue, red or orange in colour based on the citizenship of the registrant.
Registration Rule 14 (3) of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2:01 states:
"The print on an identification card in the Form set out as Form No. 11A in the Prescribed Forms Rules issued -
- to a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, whether an elector or
not, shall be in the colour blue;
- to a Commonwealth citizen other than a citizen of Trinidad
and Tobago, whether an elector or not, shall be in the
- to a person other than those described in paragraph (a) or
paragraph (b), shall be in the colour orange."
I don’t have a T&T birth certificate as I was born in Australia but was married to a T&T national and lived in Trinidad for about seven years until we were divorced. I still reside in the country as I have a registered business under both myself and former husband’s name. Can I apply for a TT identification card?
Yes you can apply for a national identification card. However, you must not only provide your Australian birth certificate but also your marriage certificate and divorce decree absolute. Most importantly, you must produce your Certificate of Citizenship or Residence granted by the Ministry of National Security of Trinidad and Tobago.
The status of Citizenship or Residence would have been granted as a result of marriage to a Trinidad and Tobago national, provided an application was made. However if you were divorced before acquiring citizenship or residence status you will be ineligible to apply.
My brother because of a medical condition cannot conduct business on his own without assistance. He is eligible to receive social relief from the Gov’t but doesn’t have an ID card and I cannot locate his birth certificate. I am his care-taker as both of our parents are deceased. What can the EBC do to assist him in getting his ID card?
The EBC can assist by doing a home visit in which we would take the photo, signature or thumb-print of your brother. However, his original Birth Certificate (computer generated or polymer printed) and an affidavit if necessary must be produced in order to apply for the identification card. You, as his sibling/relative should be able to visit the Ministry of Legal Affairs to apply for his birth certificate. If necessary, the EBC can issue a letter addressed to the said department on behalf of your brother stating that the birth certificate is needed in order to process his National Identification Card.
My ID card was reportedly lost and was subsequently replaced by the EBC, I have since found my first ID card so I now have two identification cards. What should I do?
When you applied to have your ID card replaced you would have sworn to a Statutory Declaration stating your ID card was lost. A new ID card was produced with a new date of issue and as such, you are therefore required to surrender your first ID card to the Registration Officer.
I have formed a new political party and I am desirous of contesting the next election, however, there are still some details that need to be finalized. My concern is, if an election is called before I have applied to the EBC for assignment of a symbol will I still be able to do so?
Election Rule 23(2) of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2:01 states as follows:
“On the application of any political party desirous of using at an election the same symbol for all its candidates at the election (in these Rules referred to as “the party symbol”), which application shall be made not later than three days after the publication of the election notice for the election, the Commission may assign to such party the party symbol so applied for, and the symbol shall thereupon become the party symbol of the party for the election and all subsequent elections, unless and until, on application made as above, another party symbol is assigned to the political party.”
Therefore, any application for assignment of a symbol must be made in accordance with the timeframe established in the above quoted rule.
I am a TT national currently living and working in Barbados over the last three years, my ID card expired in July, 2017 but I will be returning home on a short vacation soon. Can I renew my ID card then, what documents do I need for the EBC?
Yes, you would be able to renew your national identification card during your visit. However you must visit the Registration Office where you had applied for your present card and where your registration record is lodged.
Please note you are only required to produce your expired identification card. If however corrections are to be made on the card as regards to name and or date of birth, you will be required to visit the registration office with your birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable) and passport. The registration officer will check your documents and subsequently advise whether any additional documents will be required in order to make the desired changes
I am interested in registering a Political Party, what are the requirements?
The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) does not register political parties, it assigns party symbols.
Election Rule 23(2) of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2:01 states as follows:
"On the application of any political party desirous of using at an election the same symbol for all its candidates at the election (in these Rules referred to as “the party symbol”), which application shall be made not later than three days after the publication of the election notice for the election, the Commission may assign to such party the party symbol so applied for, and the symbol shall thereupon become the party symbol of the party for the election and all subsequent elections, unless and until, on application made as above, another party symbol is assigned to the political party."
When applying for the use of a symbol, the Political Leader or a Senior Member in the party must submit a signed correspondence (hardcopy) to either the Chairman or Chief Election Officer of the EBC for consideration.
The application must contain:
- The name of the party and acronym (if any)
- The name of the symbol
- A brief description of the symbol
- A copy (drawing) of the symbol on a separate page
- Contact information