Kathmandu, November 20

Application for Machine Readable Passports will soon be an online affair, which is expected to considerably reduce the time applicants need to wait to receive the document.

However, only those who apply for MRPs from the Department of Passport in Kathmandu and eight other countries where at least 50 live enrollment centers is being set up, can avail of the online service.

The DoP is all set to start online application process for MRPs from its Narayanhiti headquarters from next week. Initially, applicants will be allowed to apply online only for official and diplomatic passports.

Director General of DoP, Lok Bahadur Thapa, told The Himalayan Times that the department can issue and dispatch the passport within a week once it receives application via online through the LECs. Applicants living in these countries can visit LECs, fill up their forms online and send them directly to the Kathmandu-based DoP for processing. Installation of LECs would reduce the timeframe for passport issuance, he added.

The LECs are being set up in eight countries — Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, Hong Kong, China— as well as the DoP headquarters.

Currently, it takes one to three months for MRP applications from these countries to be collected manually. “We have already installed the system and are currently training the staff,” Thapa added.

Those who apply for MRPs through fast tract service can also receive passports within a short timeframe, officials said. Currently, an applicant needs to wait for a week to acquire passports through emergency service by paying double charges.

Currently, passport applicants wait for up to one and half months to receive MRPs.