Lao Residents Vent Frustrations Over Passport Application Process

Lao Residents Vent Frustrations Over Passport Application Process

Residents are expressing their frustrations on social media regarding the cumbersome process of obtaining passports, despite recent announcements about the availability of numerous online queues. 

These critics arose on social media following a post by the Lao Facebook page “Tholakhong,” which revealed multiple empty queues and encouraged residents to book their passport appointments online through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. 

The aim was to save time for those who would otherwise have to physically visit the Consulate Office in Vientiane Capital or the Passport Application Centers in Khammouane, Savannakhet, or Champasak provinces.

However, many social media users voiced their dissatisfaction, saying that online booking did not expedite the passport acquisition process and called for the government to streamline and accelerate the procedures. 

On average, online appointments usually take up to 1-3 months. In some cases, the queue stretches to 4-6 months.

One Facebook user sarcastically remarked, “Book now and you’ll get your passport in the next life.” Another highlighted the issue of favoritism, claiming, “It doesn’t matter if you book an appointment. Those with connections or who pay more will always be prioritized.”

Some individuals attempted to book appointments online but encountered errors during the process. They reported receiving messages indicating that the day they were attempting to book was full, despite the menu indicating available slots.

Meanwhile, others suggested that processing passports in their respective provinces could alleviate the burden on services and expedite the process.

Currently, a passport book with 32 pages costs LAK 400,000 (USD 19.25), with the 48-page option still unavailable. Payment for passport services is only accepted in cash and is made after the interview process.  . These challenges and discrepancies in the passport acquisition process have left many residents frustrated and calling for improvements in efficiency and fairness.