By KTA News Team |

The Israeli government’s Population and Immigration Authority has announced plans to install service machines in its offices in order to alleviate the long wait times for obtaining or renewing passports. The move comes as the government seeks ways to reduce the bureaucratic backlog caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The machines are expected to have the capability to issue a new passport within 10 minutes, however, an appointment will still require to access the machines and the wait list is currently so long that appointments are virtually impossible to secure before July 2023.

In the past, Israeli citizens could obtain a two-year temporary passport at a bank or government office, but the cost was double that of a regular passport and most countries do not allow entry to those using a passport that will expire within six months. To address this issue, the Population and Immigration Authority has decided to revisit a plan proposed by former Interior Minister Aryeh Deri: machines that can issue a passport.

Initially, only one machine will be placed in the ministry office for a trial run, with plans to roll out five machines in Tel Aviv and five in Be’er Sheva in the future. Despite the machines’ ability to issue a passport within 10 minutes, they will not solve the problem of long wait lists as an appointment is still required to use them.

The goal is to have dozens of these machines available in the next year or so and to make them accessible 24 hours a day. Initially, the machines will only be available during branch hours and their use will be supervised. Officials hope that the new machines will at least partially ease the backlog and enable citizens to receive their passports in a timely manner.