The regime announced that it will resume issuing passports on Feb. 24. This comes after the closure of all passport offices for nearly two months. Starting from today, people can apply through an online booking system, and those who have difficulty using the system can request assistance from relevant police stations, the announcement said. The online booking system will only be used at Yangon’s passport office, and the branch offices in other states and regions will follow the previous in-person appointment system.
People who want to travel abroad have encountered difficulties since the regime closed all passport offices indefinitely on Jan. 2. In addition to suspending the issuing of passports within the country, Burma’s embassies across the world have halted passport renewals. Prior to the announcement of the resumption of passport services on Feb. 24, only those who would go abroad to work under Burma’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements or go to India’s Bodh Gaya – considered to be one of the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage sites – were allowed to apply for passports. There have been reports that people who have sought passports booked a visit to Bodh Gaya first with the approval of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture and Ministry of Home Affairs before setting out for their desired destination.
“I have already bought a tour to Bodh Gaya to get a passport, but now the passport office will reopen soon. I have already spent extra money,” said a man on the condition of anonymity. As Burma’s civil war escalates and economic conditions deteriorate in the country, many Burmese have sought to move abroad to flee political persecution or work overseas since the 2021 coup.