According to an announcement from the Lao government on Thursday, it has promised to address concerns from the public about the slow processing time of passports in the country.
Head of the Passport Department, Mr. Mitsany Jerpaothao, acknowledged that some locals had complained about delays in the passport-issuing process, and some were even paying agents extra money to expedite their applications.
To tackle this problem, the Passport Department introduced an online booking system in March, but users have reported issues such as limited availability of slots and glitches. With the online booking queue currently full, residents can only schedule physical appointments at the consular department until May 10.
Mr. Mitsany revealed that the Passport Department is set to increase the number of passport printers from seven to 12 in order to speed up the process. He also said that officials will urge higher authorities to find solutions to meet the demand for passports. Mr. Mitsany expressed optimism that the situation would improve and become more convenient for the public in the coming days.
In February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Laos took notice of reports on social media about officials receiving bribes for issuing passports through brokers. The head of the Consular Department, Mr. Amphaivanh Chanthavong, addressed the issue during a press conference and promised to take action against anyone found guilty.