Regional Passport Office receives 56,924 applications in March, numbers surpass pre-Covid times

With travel restrictions being lifted and international flights resuming, the Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Ahmedabad received 56,924 passport applications in the month of March, surpassing the number of applications received in pre-Covid times.

The 56,924 applications received by RPO Ahmedabad for the month of March this year, is higher than the 55,000 applications it had received in March 2019, before the pandemic started.

Compared to this, RPO had received only 39,700 applications in March 2021 and 34,800 applications in March 2020.

“There has been a surge in passport applications, this year and especially in the month of March. Similar trend has been witnessed all over the country, where a record of around 12.80 lakh passport applications has been received in March 2022,” said Wren Mishra, the regional passport officer.

According to the application data maintained at the RPO, in 2022, passport applications increased from nearly 39,000 received in January 2022 to around 45,500 in February.

Leading to a spike of nearly 11,500 applications within a month, from January to February.

Reasons cited by officials for this rush for passports include international travelling for both leisure and work.

“This is certainly an impact of the Covid pandemic. With travel restrictions removed and international borders opening up there is a spike in people from Gujarat going for summer vacation as well as to meet their families and relatives settled abroad, which they could not do in the last two years,” the passport officer said, explaining the trend.

Further, among these record applications received this year, nearly 40 per cent are from students, revealed officials. “This can be seen as a shift of students wanting to study abroad which they could not apply for in the last two years due to the pandemic,” Mishra added.

Also, to clear the rush and backlog, employees at the regional passport office in Ahmedabad have decided to work on a non-working day every month. The office claimed this has helped them clear nearly 1,500 applications per day additionally.

In pre-Covid-19 pandemic times; i.e. in 2019 the applications received were nearly 57,000 and 53,000 for the months of January and February, respectively.

The annual figures for passport application had dropped more than half between 2019 and 2020. Whereas over 6,90,000 applications were received in the year 2019 this dropped to 3,13,000 the following year.

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