Passport applicants up by 7 times as DV registration deadline nears  « Khabarhub
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Passport applicants up by 7 times as DV registration deadline nears 



KATHMANDU: The number of people applying for passports has dramatically increased due to the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery registration program of the United States opened for 2021. With the increase in the number of passport applicants, the Department of Passport is flooded with service seekers for the last few days.

With the DV registration deadline fast-approaching, the applicants line up for passports from dawn till dusk after the US made it mandatory for the program.

The things are going hectic in the Department after DV aspirants flocked to the capital from across the country for passports since the DV lottery was opened officially. Service seekers line up at 5 am and remain until 9 pm every day, said the Department. For this reason, the number of passport applicants has increased by seven times than usual.

Passport applicants from across the districts have thronged the capital for a fast-track service since they had to wait for a long time if they apply from their home districts.

The number of passport applicants went up suddenly after America made it mandatory to include the MRP number while registering the name in the DV lottery program

Jivan Karki hailing from Ramechhap, a passport applicant, said to have arrived at the Department at 5 am to apply for the passport. “I came to the Department for MRP at 5 pm. A lot of people are applying for passports. I came here to apply for it since It is mandatory for the DV program. I need it in the future, too.”

Similarly, Sabita Mahato, another passport applicant, waits patiently for passports. Sabita along with seven people have come to Kathmandu for passports from Dolakha.

5,000 apply for MRPs daily

The Department of Passport in Kathmandu is chock-a-block with passport applicants since the DV registration program was opened officially.

The deadline for the DV lottery registration is November 5. It was opened on October 2.

The number of passport applicants went up suddenly after America made it mandatory to include the MRP number while registering the name in the DV lottery program, said Tirtha Raj Acharya, joint secretary, and spokesperson at the Department of Passport.

“The number of applicants increased dramatically since October 20. An arrangement has been made to meet the demands of the service seekers,” said Acharya, adding, “The things are going hectic with the excessive number of passport applicants.”

Following the Dashain festival, the applicants seeking an MRP through a fast-tract by paying Rs 15,000 has outnumbered those applying through a normal process. The number of passport applicants on October 1 was 483 which climbed to 2,000 on October 13, said the Department.

The number has doubled to reach 5,000 per day since October 18.

10 staffers roped in, six additional counters

Ten additional staffers have been roped in from the other departments under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tackle the increasing demands of service seekers.

The passports are being issued to the applicants through six additional counters after the number of passport applicants increased, said Joint Secretary Acharya. The Department had the capacity to only issue MRPs to 900 service seekers a day. But with Malaysia offering job opportunities two months ago and DV lottery program was opened on October 2, the number of passport applicants has soared by seven times, said the Department.

According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs under the Department of State, around 4,000 people go to America through the DV lottery program annually.

Similarly, over 80,000 Nepalis apply for the DV lottery program while around 50,000 Nepalis have already reached America through this program.

The Nepal government annulled hand-written passports in November 2015. A total of 6.2 million Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) have been already issued to the Nepali people in the last 11 years.

Similarly, the government is planning to issue e-passports from 2020. The Department has been issuing an MRP in a day for Rs 15, 000, in two days for Rs 12, 000 and in a week for Rs 10,000.

The Department issues MRPs in 15 to 20 days to those who apply from their home districts, according to the Department.

Publish Date : 24 October 2019 10:27 AM

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