Passport delays: DIA issues apology, pledges improvement on current 10-week process

  • 14/05/2024
Passport delays: DIA issues apology, pledges improvement on current 10-week process
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The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has apologised for the "inconvenience and stress" caused by current delays in passport processing times.

The apology comes after reports it was taking 10 weeks plus delivery time for passports to be sent to New Zealanders, with the DIA suggesting people pay double the normal price for an urgent application.

In the statement to media on Tuesday in which it apologised, the DIA blamed the delays on an upgrade to the passport processing system implemented in March.

While the DIA anticipated some disruptions due to the upgrade, the impact surpassed expectations, prompting the establishment of a dedicated team to rectify issues hindering production.

"The Department understands that extended wait times impact our customers and apologises for the inconvenience and stress this can cause," the statement reads.

Prioritising the reduction of wait times, the DIA said, it has initiated various interventions including additional staff training, system tuning for enhanced efficiency, and expedited recruitment of frontline personnel.

"Our aim is to ensure half of all passports are issued within two weeks, and 75 percent of all passports issued within six weeks, by the end of June," the DIA said.

"By the end of July, we expect to be issuing 75 percent within two weeks, 90 percent within four weeks and 95 percent within six weeks. We are targeting over 90 percent being issued within two weeks by the end of August."

However, for now, customers are advised to continue to allow up to 10 weeks plus delivery time, the DIA said.

The upgrade has introduced customer-centric features including online group applications, a simplified replacement process for lost or damaged passports, and streamlining RealMe account applications.

Currently, the DIA said, over 88 percent of applications are completed online, with an anticipated increase to 93 percent.