The Government of Pakistan has implemented a pioneering step by introducing electronic passports, usually referred to as e-passports, on a nationwide scale. This novel service facilitates the convenient submission of travel document applications by individuals within the confines of their residences. The implementation of e-passports has been initiated nationwide after its introduction in Islamabad, hence improving the availability of crucial travel credentials for citizens. This endeavor represents a notable advancement in streamlining the procedure for passport application.
The pricing details for this unique service have been provided by the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports. The acquisition of a regular 36-page e-passport, which remains valid for a duration of five years, incurs a cost of PKR 9,000. Additionally, there is an accelerated processing option offered at a cost of PKR 15,000.
Individuals requiring a 72-page e-passport are subject to a standard price of PKR 16,500, with the option of expediting the process for a fee of PKR 27,000. The cost for citizens opting for a 36-page e-passport with a validity period of ten years will be PKR 13,500, while an expedited issue option is available at a higher fee of PKR 22,500.
In a similar vein, it should be noted that a 72-page e-passport, which remains valid for a period of ten years, incurs a fee amounting to PKR 24,750. Additionally, an accelerated alternative is available at a cost of PKR 40,500. It is noteworthy to mention that the fee structure for regular passports remains unaltered. The increased fees will come into effect commencing on Thursday, 17th August 2023.
The implementation of electronic passports (e-passports) has been met with a sense of relief among numerous individuals who have experienced significant delays in acquiring conventional passports. The aforementioned delays have been additionally intensified by an increase in the number of applications. The typical duration for the supply of normal passports in cities like as Karachi has experienced a significant extension, surpassing one month. The expedited processing of passports, which generally has a turnaround time of five days, is currently experiencing a delay resulting in a processing time of fifteen days. The formerly expedited delivery option, often finalized within a two-day timeframe, has now been prolonged to a duration of five days.
The significant delay has posed issues for individuals who are making plans for Umrah pilgrimages as well as those who are pursuing possibilities for job and education overseas. The increase in the number of passport applications, which has risen to 40,000 per day as opposed to the typical range of 24,000 to 26,000, has resulted in the occurrence of processing bottlenecks.
In order to mitigate these delays and optimize the process of passport issuing, the duration allocated for printing has been increased to a 24-hour timeframe, during which staff members are engaged in uninterrupted labor without scheduled days off. The primary objective of this strategic strategy is to effectively handle the extraordinary surge in demand for travel documents while simultaneously minimizing any inconvenience experienced by citizens.