PUTRAJAYA: Special teams will be formed to speed up approval for renewals and applications of passports.

Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud said this move was meant to help ease the process for applicants.

This initiative is expected to be implemented in Klang Valley next week, he said.

“We recently sent eight officers to Johor to help with the passport approval process there and it has been quite successful.

“That is why we are planning to use the same formula within the Klang Valley.

“We are now in the midst of gathering officers from other Immigration offices nationwide for this initiative,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Khairul Dzaimee said they were also studying the possibility of using photographs of passport applicants above the age of 30 that were already in the system.

“The approval process doesn’t take much time but when large crowds gather at these offices to have their photographs taken for their passports, it takes time.

“This is the reason we are looking into using photographs that are already in the system,” he said.

There had been crowds at the Immigration offices, especially in the Klang Valley, due to a sharp increase in applications and renewals of passports.

On Thursday, Bernama quoted Khairul Dzaimee as saying that passport applications and renewals had gone up by 65%, thus leading to a congestion at Immigration offices, especially in the Klang Valley.

The operating hours at six Immigration offices have been extended to 10pm to cater to the increase in applications.

These are the Immigration Department offices in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor, Negri Sembilan and Melaka.

Those in Penang, Kedah, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perlis will operate until 6pm.

Last month, Khairul Dzaimee was quoted as saying that the high demand for international passports came about following the opening of the country’s borders on April 1.