Our passports are ancient. They lack biometric data that have become standard all around the world. Moreover, renewal with handwritten notes is also against international regulations.
Over the past year, Lebanon’s General Security stopped renewing passports and started issuing new ones instead. Of course, unless you knew someone doing a passport within the last year, there would have been no way for you to know of such regulation.
Starting January 10th, no Lebanese will be allowed to travel out of the country using a passport with handwritten renewal dates. That is to say if you paid 60,000 last year for renewal or 300,000 for a 5 year extension, you are out of luck: you will be stopped at the airport, your passport confiscated and you will be sent back home to get a new passport.
If you’re abroad and coming to Lebanon, your passport will be confiscated the moment you arrive at the airport and then your Lebanese stay will become a bureaucratic mess of you trying to get a new passport in time.
If you’re Lebanese in Lebanon, just go and apply for a new passport. The money you paid for a renewal will be lost, as would happen when you try to renew and the officer at the General Security thinks your picture is too young or too different.
If you’re a Lebanese coming from abroad, get your family here to ready passport papers for you at the nearest Mokhtar in order to have an easy path. You will need new passport sized pictures and a recent ID card.
If your ID card is not new (it still has your childhood picture), you will need an Ekhraj Eid in order to get the passport procedure rolling. Yay!
If you are one of those lucky people with long duration visas, your old passport will be attached to your current one meaning the visas will remain functional.
It Will Get Worse:
The passport you’ll be getting is the same as the one you currently have, except it doesn’t have handwritten notes. In a few years, when they start using passports with biometric chips and data, they’ll force you to give up your old passport and pay another fee for a new one, a fee that promises to be higher than the exorbitant one we already pay.
Why This Is Unacceptable:
It’s not my fault as a Lebanese citizen that my government is so inadequate that they couldn’t even properly inform its citizens of such regulations until 4 days prior to the deadline.
They said that they issued statements before. But those statements have not been picked up by media outlets and as such we had no way to know and were also issued on Christmas. Maybe we should have asked for new passports for Christmas instead?
You’d think an institution that makes sure to bombard you with their birthday propaganda or with any form of self-indulgent material would actually bother informing you about such an important event. But no, as it stands: the average Lebanese citizen is getting the short end of the stick, as usual.
Why do I have to pay again for a passport that I already paid for when it’s not even my fault that my passport is useless to begin with?
Till when do we, as Lebanese people, have to constantly be screwed by our government just because they have no idea what they’re doing?
Mabrouk people. In case you have travel plans, start panicking about actually being allowed to leave the country because your perfectly decent passports will become obsolete in 4 days.