Long queues for Norwegian passports and ID cards due to production issues 

A global shortage of raw materials due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine has led to delays in passports and ID cards in Norway being sent out, the Norwegian Police Directorate said Tuesday. 

Pictured is a passport.
Production issues and high demand mean many are waiting a long time for Norwegian passports and ID cards. Pictured is a passport full of stamps. Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

Production issues and high demand have meant that residents in Norway face long waiting times for passports and ID cards.

“The situation is serious, and we have worked to increase the capacity of the passport offices in the police districts to meet the wave of applicants. But now we must see what room for manoeuvre we have and what measures are possible to implement,” Bjørn Vandvik in the Police Directorate said in a statement.

“I have full sympathy with those who now may have to wait longer to get their passport or ID card,” Vandvik added. 

The firm responsible for producing the ID cards and passports, Thales, was summoned by the Justice Minister, Emilie Enger Mehl, to answer why residents face such long waiting times for a passport and what can be done to remedy the situation. 

“The government believes it is unacceptable if many Norwegians are left without the opportunity to identify themselves with a passport or ID card for a long time and expects Thales to implement measures as soon as possible,” Mehl said in a statement.

According to the ministry, the firm was unable to provide an answer on how it would solve the challenges. Still, the company has said it is in dialogue with the police directorate on how this challenge will be handled in the future. 

Earlier this year, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported that around 300,000 to 400,000 residents are currently without a valid passport. 

The government has said that it is looking into the possibility of reopening passports offices closed under the previous government to try and ease the backlog.  

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Norwegian police urge travellers not to book holidays without a valid passport 

The public has been warned by the Norwegian Police Directorate, which issues travel documents, to not book any foreign holidays without a valid passport due to long waiting times for travel documents.

Norwegian police urge travellers not to book holidays without a valid passport 

Due to long waiting times, the public has been cautioned against making holiday plans without a valid Norwegian passport as travel documents may not arrive in time for the trip. 

“We would strongly encourage people to wait to book a holiday abroad before they know that they have their travel documents in order,” Bjørn Vandvik from the Norwegian Police Directorate said in a statement on Wednesday

Previously the police said that those travelling within the EEA this summer should instead order a national ID card which allows for travel within the Schengen area because that form of travel documentation was subject to shorter waiting times. 

Those wishing to travel during fellesferie, the collective holiday period in Norway, have been advised to order new travel documents by the end of May or the beginning of June at the latest. 

Despite the measures put in place by the police to try and ensure that supply meets demand, waiting lists are growing longer, and the authorities don’t expect the backlog to be cleared until the autumn.

The current waiting time for passports is around seven weeks. However, the police have said they expect this to increase to 10 weeks by July. 

READ MORE: How do Norway’s slow passport processing times compare to Denmark and Sweden?

So far this year, the police have received 560,40 passport applications. In contrast, the police registered 270,000 applications in 2019. 

A mixture of the pandemic and war in Ukraine has made getting the materials used to produce national ID cards and passports more difficult.