And while the passport is difficult - apparently the Social sEcurity Card is not so difficult to get. That's why Yuanran Zheng was likely directed by his illicit immigration agents to go and try to get that with a fake nationality certificate.
He was caught in the act, but his attempt demonstrates how susceptible key national identity systems can be to fraud and forgery. And that's because the different departments who manage Belizean identification documents are disconnected.
But, there is a plan to create a national ID system.
Government's Chief Technology Officer Mike Singh discussed it last week, and yesterday the CEO of the Social Security Board told us that such a system would help SSB to ensure the integrity of this critical national identification document:
Dr. Colin Young - CEO, SSB
"Social Security has been involved from the very initial stages for this national ID project. We think it's a good idea, because what it would do is to link all of the agencies together. Right now for example we depend heavily on vital stats. When a person brings in a birth paper from vital stats we have to believe in the integrity of that process. Similarly we have to believe in the integrity of the immigration department. What the ID will do is to allow us to have a database that allows us to share information in a way that is real-time that allows us to make decisions quickly."
"So from the point of social security, we don't need a picture ID. You walk into our offices we have your picture on file, we know who you are, we really need the number, because the number is what links your benefits and to your payments, but the social security card has become a de-facto national ID. You go to the bank, they want the social security card. You go the immigration department, they want the social security card."
"We are in part of the working group to see how best we can participate, so that at the end of the day we have a national ID that provides all the benefits that comes with that."