A press statement from the department said October, November and December saw the department experiencing an influx of Batswana coming to apply for the e-passport, especially at the Gaborone headquarters. Further, 198,000 passports have been issued to date while 25,984 are uncollected.
The press statement said out of 14,834 applications received in October, 10,504 passports were issued. Of the 27,439 people who applied for the e-passport in November, 11,197 were issued. In December 27,777 applications were received, while 12,961 passports were issued.
The statement also said the number of passports issued for each month is not necessarily a reflection of the number of passports produced during that month as it includes issuance of passports that were produced before those months and had been awaiting collection.The department said the influx of applications caused a backlog in the processing of the applications, which it is still dealing with.
"Contributing to the delay is the fact that the printing of passports is centralised to Gaborone only, for security reasons," the statement said.The effect of this backlog is that a normal service passport, which has a five-day processing period, is now being processed within four weeks.
The express service, which normally has a two-day turnaround time, is now being processed within a week.However, the standard turnaround time for the extra service passport has been maintained at 24 hours, according to the statement.The department also urges members of the public to apply for the e-passport to avoid last minute rushing and disappointments in the end, particularly for those going for church activities or holidays over the Easter season.