As Swedish passports expire every five years, and many people did not renew passports during the pandemic, there has been a surge in applications for renewal this year. In the worst-hit parts of Sweden, it is currently impossible to get a new appointment to renew a Swedish passport before the start of December.
Police in Sweden have gone so far to declare the shortage of slots “a special national event”, or nationella särskilda händelse, a category usually used for extreme events such as terror attacks, or gangland massacres.
In a press release issued on Thursday evening, Per Engström, the officer appointed to lead efforts to solve the “special national event”, said that police were recruiting 400 new staff, extending opening hours, and bringing in digital solutions to speed up processing times.
“We are working across the board to improve the situation,” he said. “From Monday onwards we are going to increase opening times successively and bring in the possibility to book passport times even outside office hours.”
The police are also calling on students studying to be police, and even ordinary police officers to work extra hours to help reduce the queues.
The police have also changed the booking system so that applicants need to enter their personal numbers to book times, and have also brought in a system to prevent so-called ‘bots’ making multiple bookings.