Nima Wangdi 

Despite single log in Government to Citizen (G2C) services, more than 200 hundred applicants come in person to the passport division office every day.

Chief of the Passport Division, Tshewang Dorji T said the office has an easy system to process passports. “We encourage people to apply online but people continue coming to the office in person. We see an increased number of people crowding the office.”

He said, with the lifting of travel restrictions, they are seeing more people these days. “Usually towards winter, more people apply for passports as they travel to Nepal and Bodhgaya.”

“To discourage crowding, from July, we are thinking to issue passports in one day for those who apply online and create three days provision for those who come in person. We can understand those who can’t apply online.”

He said, by applying online, the person will only have to upload just the passport application form. People coming to the office in person should submit CID copy besides having to travel all the way.

“Based on the data for past two days, only 25 to 30 percent apply online, which means some 70 percent come to the office,” he said.

Tshewang Dorji T said, in some countries, it takes about 21 days to get a passport but here it is done in half an hour provided people submit all the documents meeting the specifications. “A person should be getting the passport at least in one day if they submit all the documents.”

According to the officials, applicants apply in the morning and collect them in the afternoon. “We don’t want people, especially those coming from outside Thimphu to return some other days,” the chief said.

Tshewang Dorji T said, although the office delivers passports on a daily basis, it could take up to two days. The turnaround time will be reduced to a day from July.

He said, since most of the Bhutanese living abroad are in Australia, the Embassy in Canberra started issuing passports starting March this year. People there don’t have to apply for passports from here anymore.

The embassy collects documents and sends them online to the passport division. “After we verify and upload them to our system, a pdf form is sent to the embassy. They print and issue them.

Official and diplomatic passports are provided for free. An ordinary passport costs Nu 1,000. The person is charged Nu 5,000 if the passport is lost or damaged before its expiry.

The office has issued 2,900 ordinary, 24 official and 11 diplomat passports in April 2022.