YK Poudel

The crowd at the passport division has surged again with the division facilitating the replacement of temporary travel documents with ordinary passports beginning yesterday.

The foreign ministry (MFA) notified the general public that the division would facilitate the replacement of travel documents issued in place of ordinary passports from December 1 as it notified earlier on November 2.

According to the ministry, the replacement would be facilitated without the requirement of any payment or a separate application.

On November 30, the MFA notified on its website that daily 100 applications will be accepted for the replacement of the travel document with ordinary passports through an application system.

According to the notification, the individuals interested to replace the travel document must hand over the travel document to the passport division with a form filled out for a replacement.

An official from the division said that interested individuals must have a valid security clearance certificate and the applicant would receive a notification through text message (SMS) to the contact number provided. “The travel document will be returned to the individual, upon cancellation of the replacement if required.”

Sonam Wangmo, a recent class 12 graduate, who applied for passport replacement said that she waited until December to get her travel document replaced.

“I was hoping that the division will get the applications a day before and facilitate the replacement within a day or two but the division asks us to wait for a text message after six working days,” she said. “This will create a delay in processing the tickets and necessary procedures for us as passport details are a must.”

Another applicant, Dorji Wangdi, who went to get his children’s passports replaced said, “I went to the division with five passports in hand. Being illiterate, it is cumbersome for people like me.”

“I asked one of my grandchildren to apply as per the link provided on November 30 at the given time but the link got closed within no time, the system to make an appointment did not work well as the server was down,” he said.

He said that he has to replace the travel documents at the earliest. “We need to attend a program in Nepal soon.”

The division accepts 100 appointments in a day for the replacement of a travel document with an ordinary passport.

A corporate employee, who has been trying to get a passport said that it has been over a month since he applied for a passport through the website but did not get any confirmation message.

“Weeks later, I received a message stating that the application has been rejected without any reason stated. After several days when I checked the status of the application, it showed under process, and still, I have not received any text after more than a month.”

The details provided, he said, are correct for which he tried to enquire on the given helpline number for several days yet the division failed to respond.

“With 100 applicants for travel document replacement and the division asking to wait for a message after six working days, there will be a backlog of more than 500 cases by the time the first group of applicants get the passport replaced,” he said.

Another applicant said, “The ministry should make use of both printers and help the public with efficient service especially when they are in need.”

Many said that the division has to make the replacement process efficient without people having to wait for long.