WINDHOEK - Deputy minister of home affairs Maureen Hinda-Mbuende said the batch of ordinary passport books that arrived on Monday has a ten-year validity.
Hinda-Mbuende said this would lessen the demand for new passports.
“However, the validity for passports for applicants under 21 years will remain five years because of changes in facial features at that age,” remarked Hinda-Mbuende.
The deputy minister made these remarks yesterday while announcing that the ministry received new passports following critical shortages since April. During the past months, the ministry rationed the passports and issued them according to crucial travel needs. Hinda-Mbuende said the ministry has put measures in place to ensure that running out of passports will be something of the past.
The ministry is also busy clearing the backlog which stands at approximately 15 000 created by the shortage of passport books.
“We intend to clear the pending applications. Additional resources have been deployed to ensure that we clear pending applications within four to six weeks,” said Hinda-Mbuende.
She explained that the system that they have put in place would ensure that those who need passports to travel would get them on time. She said they envisage reverting to the initial turnaround time of three to 10 working days by mid-December.
Hinda-Mbuende said that during the last few months the ministry had to resort to contingency plans to keep emergency stock.
She said 6 065 passports were printed, of which were 2 064 ordinary passports and 4 001 brown passports. The deputy minister encouraged people with brown passports to continue using them to travel to destinations where they are recognised as legitimate travel documents. In addition, to expedite delivery of passports applicants will be notified through SMS once their documents are ready.
Enquiries regarding the status of application can be done using the passport application number indicated on the receipt as reference. Furthermore, the deputy minister underscored that a passport is a travel document and not an identification document. She said people who apply for them without the intention of travelling have inflated the demand for passports.
“During the period of shortage 160 passports remained uncollected and over 5 000 expired on the shelves without being collected.”
2019-10-16 06:46:45 7 months ago