By KTA News Team |
News (January 23, 2o23) : According to recent reports, the Population and Immigration Authority is working on a new solution to alleviate the long waiting times for passport and identity card renewals. The Authority plans to conduct a pilot program of setting up self-service stations for renewing biometric passports and identity cards in an effort to shorten the lines and make the process more efficient for passengers.
The pilot program is expected to begin next month in the Authority’s offices in Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva. The self-service stations will allow passengers to renew their passports and identity cards quickly and easily, without having to wait in long lines. The Authority plans to share the pilot program with the public as soon as possible.
This new solution comes as a welcome relief for many passengers who have been frustrated by the long waiting times for passport and identity card renewals. The self-service stations are expected to make the process more efficient and convenient for passengers, allowing them to get back to their daily lives without the hassle of waiting in long lines.
The Population and Immigration Authority is committed to making the process of passport and identity card renewals as smooth and efficient as possible for passengers. With this new pilot program, the Authority hopes to improve the experience for passengers and make the process more convenient for everyone.
For more than a year now, many Israeli Nationals have been unable to make an appointment to issue or renew their passports in the near future, and the queue situation is only getting worse.
While the wait for an appointment in March-April 2022 took three to four months on average, today one already has to wait six months in many central bureaus of the Ministry of the Interior, and in places like Tel Aviv, it is almost impossible to find appointments in the near future for more than a year, and the queue situation is only getting worse.
The Ministry of the Interior responded: “We apologize for the long waiting times and are constantly working to reduce them as much as possible.”
The Population Authority explains that the reason for the delays is the usual high demand for passports, which is manifested, among other things, in the production of more than 1.5 million passports in 2022 alone. The Authority says that steps have been taken to address the problem, including expanding the hours of operation and hiring employees, but additional tasks assigned to them, including receiving Ukrainian immigrants who fled their country and issuing entry permits to Israel did not make it possible to close the gap.
During 2022, the Ministry of the Interior formulated various solutions, including the opening of a dedicated complex for issuing temporary passports in Bnei Brak (which has been closed for the time being), the ordering of automatic machines to shorten the queues (the machines have indeed been ordered, but have not yet started operating), expanding the hours of operation and opening queues early in the morning – but all of these They were not able to release the heavy traffic that was created, and the customers continue to wait.
According to the ministry’s data, 1,554,210 passports were issued in 2022. This is indeed a double number compared to 2021 (where 736,725 passports were issued) and a threefold increase compared to 2020 (where 476,177 passports were issued) – however, due to the multiple COVID-19 closures imposed in these years, the number of flights was much lower.
“The entire nation of Israel is waiting for passports. It is impossible for people to wait for an appointment for six months and then another six weeks for a passport to be issued,” said MK Yaakov Asher, Chairman of the Interior and Environmental Protection Committee, in a Knesset hearing on the long lines for obtaining a passport.
Asher said that he expects the Population and Immigration Authority to present to the Interior Committee within two weeks a plan that will reduce the long waiting times for issuing passports. “Bring crazy and practical solutions and if necessary we will also recruit the finance minister,” he said.
At the discussion, the Deputy Minister of the Interior and Deputy Minister of Health, said that in the coming days, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri would include projects that would deal with streamlining customer service:
“The citizens of Israel are entitled as a fundamental right to freedom of movement, and a citizen who is prevented from leaving the country because his turn in six months is an intolerable situation that violates the basic rights of citizens,” he said.
Yoel Lipovetsky, director of the Population Administration, explained that the Population Authority works five days a week, and some bureaus also work on Fridays. He blamed the problem on shifting workers to care for the 70,000 new immigrants who immigrated to Israel this year:
“In the past, the immigrants usually came to Israel with an immigrant visa in their passport and did not come to the bureaus at all. What has happened with this increase is that the majority come as tourists so their tests are much longer and require more resources. Between 50 and 60 employees take care of immigrants who come to Israel.”
Asher announced that he would schedule another meeting in two weeks, at which the Population and Immigration Authority would present a comprehensive plan to shorten waiting times for issuing passports..
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The ministry also notes that since two weeks ago, it was possible to issue temporary passports at the Population Administration offices throughout the country. Such a passport, which costs approximately twice as much and is valid for only two years, should reach the citizen by registered mail, about a week after the application is submitted. The application must be submitted at the bureau to which the residential area is associated only, without the need for an appointment, after paying the fee and filling out the forms online.