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Lebanon runs out of passports, say officials 

Lebanese passports on August 31, 2021 [ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images]
Lebanese passports on August 31, 2021 [ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images]

Lebanon's passports authority yesterday said it had halted receiving citizens' renewal requests as new passports stock and cash deplete due to the "huge demand".

"Since 2020, requests for passport renewals have been ten times higher than in previous years, which has piled pressure on passport centres and "affected available passport stocks," the Lebanese General Security said in a statement.

The agency explained that it had been trying "to secure the necessary additional requested passports since the beginning of 2021," noting that it had called on the government to "accelerate securing the necessary funding for the new passports' issuance."

"Lebanese authorities have yet to pay for more passports to be produced, at a time when the available amount of passports has started to run out," the agency said.

The authority pointed out that it was forced to halt work on the passport appointment platform "until funds are paid to the company contracted to issue new passports."

"Those with pre-existing appointments are still eligible for new travel documents," the agency added.

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Since 2019, Lebanon has been witnessing an unprecedented economic crisis, described by the World Bank as one of the worst globally since 1850. The local currency has since lost more than 90 per cent of its value, plunging 80 per cent of the population into poverty.

The crisis was reported to have prompted a massive number of Lebanese people to migrate, seeking better living conditions abroad.

A report by the Arab Barometer revealed in April that "nearly half of the Lebanese people are seeking immigration."

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