People rush to apply for passports after month-long suspension

By Pham Du, Dinh Van   July 1, 2022 | 07:30 pm PT
People rush to apply for passports after month-long suspension
People form a crowd as they wait to enter an immigration office in HCMC to apply for new passports, July 1, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
Thousands of people lined up for hours Friday at passport offices in Hanoi and HCMC as they resumed issuance after a month of suspension for "non-urgent" purposes.

Since morning people lined up outside the Ho Chi Minh City Immigration Office in District 3 and the Immigration Department in District 1 to apply for passports.

Police officers were present at the scene to maintain order and instruct people on what documents were needed. As people waited for their turns, some took a nap in their seats.

A new passport, blue-violet in color and with images of Ha Long Bay and the Hue Citadel, has been introduced.

Last month authorities announced they would stop issuing and renewing passports using the old form except in the case of emergencies.

Due to the sheer number of people that showed up on Friday morning, one office in HCMC had to stop receiving applications at 9 a.m.

Hoang Tuyet, 42, spent four hours at the Immigration Department before she could get an appointment to collect her passport. She had planned to travel abroad in June to see her children, but had to postpone the trip as her passport had expired.

"I had to get in line all the way from the gates to get to my turn, submit documents and take photos. It was tiresome."

Huyen, 36, had to leave because the office stopped receiving applications. She wanted to send her two children to Thailand for a trip, but they could not get their passports in time.

"They stopped issuing passports in June, and now there are too many people."

In Hanoi too people are also flocking to immigration offices.

An official said the two offices in Dong Da and Ha Dong districts were packed with people Friday morning, with over 1,000 people turning up at a time during certain hours, a lot more than usual.

"We anticipated this, and so have twice the usual number of personnel and more booths."

The Ministry of Public Security is next planning to introduce passports with electronic chips, which are considered more secure. But applicants can choose between those with and without the chip.

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