New Passport Issuance System to Combat Extortion and Reduce Wait Times
The Department of Immigration and Emigration has announced a groundbreaking initiative to streamline the passport issuance process and eliminate the need for individuals to endure long wait times at the Department’s premises in Battaramulla. Starting from June 1, all passports will be issued under a new online system, allowing applicants to receive their passports conveniently at their homes within three days via Registered Post.
The decision to implement this new system was prompted by numerous complaints received by the Department regarding an organized group that extorts money from people visiting the Battaramulla premises, falsely promising expedited passport processing and delivery on the same day. It has been reported that this unscrupulous group charges individuals between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 per person to secure fully completed genuine passports without any hassle.
Commissioner General of the Department, Harsha Ilukpitiya, emphasized that the introduction of the new online system aims to eliminate such fraudulent practices and provide a more efficient and reliable passport service to the public. Under the revamped process, applicants are required to visit their authorized Divisional Secretariat, located in their respective areas, to obtain the necessary passport application forms.
Currently, only 50 Divisional Secretariats in the country have been authorized to accept passport applications. After filling out the required details on the application form and providing a thumb impression, applicants must submit the application along with a recent photograph to the designated official. Additionally, a copy of the payment receipt, which can be made at any Bank of Ceylon branch, must be included.
Commissioner General Ilukpitiya assured the public that the officials handling passport matters at the Divisional Secretariats have received comprehensive training to efficiently process applications and ensure a seamless experience for applicants.
Until the new system goes into effect on June 1, individuals can still apply for passports without any difficulties at the Department’s Head Office in Battaramulla.
The implementation of this new online passport issuance system marks a significant step forward in modernizing the passport application process, reducing wait times, and safeguarding applicants from extortion and fraudulent practices. The DIE is committed to providing a transparent and efficient service that prioritizes the convenience and security of passport applicants throughout Sri Lanka.