The Passport Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) last Wednesday, officially opened the Expedited Service System (ESS) to the public, according to a press release.
Performing the formal opening ceremony, the Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Deweh Gray, stated, “In our quest to ensure efficiency and expeditious service to passport applicants who have very urgent travel or appointment needs, we have set up the ESS where applicants can make a request to the Passport Division, which shall, after proper vetting, process the applications and have the passports ready for pickup within at least three hours after payment has been made and biometrics completed.”
She emphasized that the decision to provide this service is to eliminate the middleman factor; that is, individuals who take money from applicants under the guise that they can get their passports processed in a shorter period, only to cause serious embarrassment for applicants who have an urgent need for their passports.
According to the minister, the ESS allows applicants to walk in and after going through all the formalities, obtain their passports in a few hours. This optional and voluntary service comes at an additional cost of US$50 as service charge in addition to the regular US$50 cost of the passport. This service costs the applicant a total of US$100.
The service will be available between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. daily. Applicants can visit the Passport Bureau to get further information on this service, which is only available at the Foreign Ministry.
However, applicants who come in with naturalization documents at first appearance will not benefit from the system as their supporting documentations have to go through other vetting and authentication processes.
The ministry advised that the regular processing time for a passport is five-working days, the press release stated.