25 Apr 2007

Fiji immigration authorities run out of passports

9:54 am on 25 April 2007

Fiji's Immigration Department is being forced to issue certificates of identity to people wishing to travel abroad because of a shortage of passports.

The Fiji Times quotes the director of immigration, Commander Viliame Naupoto, as saying a wide spectrum of people have been given certificates of identity which are valid for one year.

Commander Naupoto says they will discuss the acceptance of the certificates with foreign diplomatic missions in Suva until new passports become available.

He says only 30 passports are left for emergency use while there are 700 applications in the pipeline and more than 400 applicants have been turned away and told to apply when new stocks of passports arrive on June 19.

Commander Naupoto says the shortage has arisen because of the system of ordering which had been in place but he is working on changing that procedure.