Long waiting times for new passports

PassportPassport.Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

Several of the country’s police stations do not have a single free hour for ordering passports the next two months

On the police’s own pages to reserve time for a new passport, there are only a few police stations where there is free time for the next two months. In the whole of Southern and Eastern Norway, there are several places where it is not even possible to reserve an hour.

There are not many vacant hours in Western Norway, while in Rogaland it is apparently easier. In Northern Norway, the situation does not seem much better. Neither in Bodø, nor in Tromsø, were there more than a few hours available on Thursday afternoon.

‘’The police wlsh to provide better service to the public, and we will therefore recommend the police districts to extend the opening hours,
also for the public to apply in the evening and possibly Saturdays will be open, if needed’’ wrote section manager, Arne Isak Tveitan, of the Norwegian Police Directorate to NTB news.

Can’t meet the need

Section Manager, Heidi Vinsrud, in the Eastern Police District, confirmed that there is pressure on all police stations that issue passports during the day. New hours are regularly posted, but they are quickly used.

‘’There is so much need now that we are unable to cover anyone who needs a new passport. We run and added more people in Ski, Lillestrøm and Grålum, but it takes some time’’ said Vinsrud to NTB news.

From the police passport office at Gardermoen, so far no feedback has been received on the increase of travellers who need an emergency passport due to long waiting times.

Better in the West

Also in the western police district there are long gaps on the passport office’s calendar. But Kristi Fürstenberg in the management section explained that vacant hours are released as the capacity of the passport offices changes.

‘’Many probably put out a rootstock of vacant hours. As we know how many people we have at work, we fill in as we move forward in the calendar’’ said Fürstenberg.

She said there is spare capacity in almost the entire Western police district next week, so people who need a new passport can just come.

‘’There are no challenges now, but there will be a little more pressure when we come to April and May’’ she said.

Saturday opening at passport offices

The Police Directorate have recommended the districts to extend the ordering times for ordering online passports from 30 to 60 days, which several districts have done. Oslo, which also covers Asker and Bærum, operates with an appointment 60 days ahead.

‘’We sometimes experience a great demand for hours for passports, which can result in no vacancies. The website works optimally, but there are sometimes no available hours’’ it said on the ordering page on Thursday.

Press manager, Unni Grøndal, said that in the Oslo police district they are in the process of hiring more employees, and that opening hours
are being considered, including having a Saturday opening at the passport office. She said they post new hours every Friday and that the overview is updated continuously.

‘’We find that there is a great deal of work on hourly orders at our passport office in Oslo police district. We try as well as possible to
meet this demand’’ she said.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today