Surge in demand for German passports ahead of holidays leads to longer waiting times
With pandemic restrictions being lifted and the summer holidays just a few weeks away, there has recently been a surge in demand for German passports, leading to long waiting times for applicants and local authorities calling for improved infrastructure.
Demand for German passports skyrockets
German citizens across the country are looking to take advantage of the relaxed coronavirus restrictions and finally enjoy a proper holiday this summer, something which is reflected in the significant surge in demand for passports.
A spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior confirmed that the increase in demand for passports was mainly down to the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions. "In addition, due to reunification in 1990, an increase in passport applications can be expected every 10 years [as these passports expire]," the spokesperson explained. This rise in passport applications was expected in 2020 and 2021 but, because of the pandemic, the Bundesdruckerei (Federal Printing Office) is only experiencing the surge now.
The increased demand for passports has led to longer waiting times. Figures from the ministry show that the average production time (including postage and shipping) for passports increased from 10,1 working days in January 2022 to 18 working days in April. Before the coronavirus pandemic, citizens could expect to wait between 9,4 and 10 days for their passports. Demand for express passport production (where the document is ready after three working days) has also increased sharply.
Passport now required for UK travel
Another reason for the increased demand for passports in Germany is that, since 2021 as a result of Brexit, German residents can no longer travel to the UK using their ID cards. Passports are now required for EU citizens to travel to the UK.
Due to the increasing number of passport appointments, citizens have been urged to submit their applications as soon as possible. In some cities, the heightened demand and long waiting times have reportedly seen the number of people over the age of 16 without a valid ID triple. Authorities expect waiting times to decrease when demand finally falls, which should be after the summer holidays at the latest.
Direct passport delivery and temporary registration offices
The Ministry of the Interior has reported that the Bundesdruckerei is currently looking into the possibility of delivering passports directly to an applicant’s address. The Association of Cities in North Rhine-Westphalia has long called for this to be implemented: “This saves picking [the passport] up at the office and thus relieves the administration and the citizens alike," said Managing Director Helmut Dedy. No date has been provided by the ministry as to when this could happen, with the federal states remaining responsible for local passport and ID authorities.
To cope with the increased demand for passports, the NRW City Association has announced it will set up temporary registration offices, extend opening hours and optimise the allocation and processing of appointments.