Passport Renewal Issues

17/07/2015

A valid passport is a vital document to be able to travel and most importantly to  prove one’s citizenship in any abroad country. Not being able to renew or to validate a passport might in many cases result in the cancelling of the flight or the expulsion from the country. citizens around the world might find themselves stuck in a blocklog, and it might  take years. So in what cases do those blockage situations happen ? 

Delays arising out of technical problems

Delays may arise out of technical problems : there are travel seasons especially ahead summer vacations wich witness a huge increase in passport renewal applications. Such increase engenders a situation of block. Many passengers were intending to travel but couldn’t renew or validate their travel documents in time. In 2014, a renewal delay lasted over 4 months causing an utter dissatisfaction among applicants. Passports were processed at the governent’s passport office rather than in embassies and offices around the world. British expats remaining passportless for a long span of time demanded a compensation for the delay from their government.

Emergency cases requiring emergency travel documents

In emergency cases offices resort to processing emergency travel documents. One of the options is the temporary emergency passport : the duration of its validity varies from one country to another, in France it lasts one year. It doesn’t give a guaranteed access to visa-free countries. It only gives an immediate solution for humanitarian, professional or health-related reasons. Also, a laissez-passer is a travel document mostly issued by international organizations for humanitarian purposes (like United NationsEuropean Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross), but it can also be issued by government offices. Some countries issue a laissez-passer to their nationals instead of emergency passports, im many countries it is issued to stateless persons. A laissez-passer serves as a limited pass for nationals of countries wich have a rater conflicting diplomacy with some others, as is the case with Israelis who can’t be accepeted as Israeli nationals within the territories of other countries.  An example is that of Israelis wishing to visit pilgrimage sites. Some countries like Tunisia, not recongnizing Israel a a state, refuse to accept ther entrance to their territories as Israeli nationals. As a way out, they resort to have a second European passport or a special laissez-passer  that only allows them to visit the site of the pilgrimage without having access to the determined zone.

Passport renewal issues within the geo-political turmoil : a living experience

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But it can be related to the overall security situation of the country : chaotic situations of some countries are always joined with troubles regulating the legal stay of their nationals in foreign countries. We’ve covered in an earlier blog issues having to do with citizenship for Syrians who fled the war. This time the focus is on passport renewal : many among Syrians living abroad spent over 3 years and a half without passport and only those who have scolarships managed to maitain a legal stay. Ahmad S., a Syrian national living in Tunisia, says Syrians have only recently been able to validate their passports and thus be able to maintain a legal stay in the host country. The recent decision made by the Syrian regime in April 2015 to grant the possibility of validating passports to all Syrians abroad even to members of the opposition and to Syrians who fled in illegal ways so they can be able to regulate their residency in the foreign country.Admad adds that the problem transcends the official declared decisions, it lays deeper. Many governments anti-Syrian regime have ceased to recognize the regime by closing the Syrian consulates and embassies within their territories making it tough for Syrians to have new passports. The way out is to reach for the passports in neighbouring countries which still hold a diplomatic relation with Syria, as is the case in Tunisia where the Syrian embassy was closed as soon as the Syrian revolution started. Ahmad S. says that, he as a Syrian national living in Tunisia had to be physically present in the Syrian embassy in Algeria to be able to validate the passport. Thus, the passport renewal for Syrians becomes a hard and complicated process and depends on the host countries’ diplomacy with Syria ( Algeria for example is a visa-free country for Syrians). 

 

Nidhal Chemkhi