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Immigration reports highest workload in history with over 17k passport applications

Mohamed Rehan
22 June 2022, MVT 13:28
A Maldives Immigration officer ensures validity of a passport application before issuance -- Photo: Nishan Ali/Mihaaru
Mohamed Rehan
22 June 2022, MVT 13:28

Maldives Immigration reported that 17,000 applications were lodged in the authority in May. This is a record number of applications submitted within a single month.

Immigration had earlier extended its working hours owing to mounting passport applications on a daily basis.

The authority which had previously handled merely 200 applications per day on workdays had experienced a significant increment in the number of applications by 800 per day.

Immigration attests that the current passport application requests surpass pre-pandemic levels during which it had handled 5,000 applications throughout a single month.

The authority has addressed the sudden surge in passport applications, noting that countries across the globe were reopening their borders and facilitating inbound traveling to them, which in turn drove up the outbound travelers in Maldives.

Immigration's Controller General Mohamed Ahmed Hussain attests that the authority did not anticipate any sudden surges in passport applications due to which the authority initially struggled to meet the demands of applicants.

However, he assures Immigration was working diligently to resolve any operational issues in the meantime.

One of the major tweaks to Immigration's operation was the extension of office hours until 09:30pm during weekdays.

In addition to this, Immigration bumped passport issuance to a total of 500 per day.

Additionally, Hassan affirms the authority's continued efforts towards automating form submission process which is still a partially-manual task.

Applicants must download the passport application forms, fill it manually, scan and submit it to Immigration's online portal.

This approach also results in several applications being rejected over various reasons, something that the Controller General notes is working actively to resolve.

A major issue with passport applications center around ineligible photos used by applicants. The Controller General had also highlighted on several applicants using photos that contradict ICAO standards.

Immigration's management continues working with technical members of the authority to facilitate a real-time alerting approach that will alarm the applicant if the photos they use for the passport application do not meet the required standards.

Hassan affirmed the authority's objective of automating their passport application portal by the end of 2022.

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