Two years of extensive corona restrictions are finally over, and Marita Eriksen (51) has decided to realize something she has been thinking about for a long time.
She will move from Hammerfest to Turkey in June, to be with her boyfriend there.
Before that time, there is a bit to organize. On Monday, she sat down in front of the computer to book an appointment at her local police station to renew her passport.
– I was simply shocked, says Eriksen.
Can not travel
Despite the fact that the Police Directorate has warned of a longer waiting time for passports, Eriksen was not prepared.
The first free hour to renew the passport was 22 June.
– I was shocked. When I did a search and looked for free hours elsewhere, I saw that it was the same across large parts of the country, she says.
Had the passport been renewed, printed up and sent right after class, perhaps the relocation plans in June could have gone according to plan.
But according to the Norwegian Police Directorate, the delivery time for passports is now longer than usual.
You have to expect about seven weeks, or more in places with long postage. The police also expect that the delivery time will increase further towards the summer.
– Do not book travel
The Norwegian Police Directorate informs TV 2 that the big problem now is both the shortage of raw materials, and that the number of Norwegians with passports that expire is very large.
– Demand is higher than available production, even with the measures we have implemented. Therefore, it must be expected that the waiting time will increase further in the coming months, says Arne Isak Tveitan, section chief in the Police Directorate.
Tveitan states that the production time for passports is already seven weeks. By the beginning of July, he believes it can be as long as ten weeks for passports, and four to six weeks for national ID cards.
Tveitan states that the police have tried to reach the population and encourage them to renew their passports earlier this year, so that they would not have to stop in the summer. Among other things, they have sent out text messages.
– Still, it is natural that people do not think about this until it is acute. We are now in a situation where we are unfortunately unable to provide normal services to the population. In general, we would advise people not to book new trips now if they do not have the travel documents in order, he says.
For many without a passport, an emergency passport may have previously been a crisis solution.
The Police Directorate advises against this. The production of emergency passports is in fact also affected by the shortage of raw materials.
– Further measures are being studied to ensure that those who are in an emergency situation have access to emergency passports. If it becomes necessary to tighten up, leisure travel will probably be affected first. The police therefore do not recommend applying for an emergency passport for the holidays this summer, he says.
Will not shift the problem
Even though Eriksen has to stay in Norway until August or longer due to the passport problems, she takes it in stride.
However, she wants to warn others who are about to book summer vacation, without having wiped the dust off the passport.
– Summer is upon us and after years of travel restrictions, I think many people these days book trips abroad. Some of them probably have, like me, a passport that has expired and will end up with the same problem, she says.
Eriksen has been thinking about obtaining a national ID card, which you can travel with in the EU, or an emergency passport.
– At the same time, it will only mean extra costs and that I shift the problem. When it takes so long to get an hour to order a passport, it will probably also lead to further pressure on the police, she says.
It had also not been possible for her to apply for an ID card and passport at the same time. The police limit the issuance to one document per applicant due to the abnormally high demand and challenges with deliveries.
Eriksen is therefore preparing for a summer in Norway and moving in August.
– There is not much else to do but to be patient and wait, she says.