Eduardo Chavez writes an optimistic, hope it holds, story about Bolivian passport process, from La Razon:
The Passport procedure lasts less than 30 minutes
Migration. The Bolivian State implemented systems to improve the security of the documents.
Rolando Q. plans to travel this month to an event in Mexico. To apply for his visa at the Embassy of that country, ten days ago went to the migration offices to arrange a prerequisite: his Passport; he was there at 09:47 and by 10:11 came out with the document.
The speed in the delivery of the passport for travelers is evident and an example of this is that the waiting room is no longer crowded of people as in the past.
The Director of migration, Cosset Estenssoro, explains that her Office’s mission is to position in citizens the idea that the Bolivian passport is secure and get it “is very simple”.
“Go to the Office of migration, not only in La Paz, it is easy and here will receive a friendly attention.” Something so simple will allow the traveler to get his Passport in 20 minutes, 30 in the worst cases. “In exchange you can be sure that will have a document that will allow you to travel outside our borders without any problem”, she says.
To reduce the time of issuance of the passport, the Directorate of migration faced two tasks.
The first was the empowerment of printing centers at its offices in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. Before, the passports of the rest of the country were sent to the central office in the Government Headquarters. And it was only printed after verifying affiliation, police/legal check and migration data. Estenssoro ensures that it is already passed because the fact that the three printing centers are networked, allows strict control to prevent the double issue of documents or the manipulation of the data of the applicant.
In addition, there are centers of issuing of passports in consulates of Bolivia in Madrid and Washington, which are also online and where the book is printed with the same measures of security at a cost of $85 (65.66 euros).
Another step is the implementation of a new attention system, opened in September, that allows to speed up the service. The base was developed by the unit of calculation of the same Directorate of migration.
Process. These tasks allow the citizen to reach the window information, to ask about the requirements for the procedure to be performed. If you have the required documents and there is no impediment, you’re given the number of the Union Bank account in which you must deposit the Bs495 and with your deposit ballot, a ticket is given to start the process.
In a maximum of five minutes, through the screens and speaker system, they will shown to which window you should approach for data capture – including the picture – then, goes to the printing process and the passport is given to the citizen.
The documents submitted comply with international standards and have 18 measures of security. Since 2009, the Directorate General of migration has the system of issuance of passports “Emipas” who complies with the standards safety and machine readable by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, OACI in Spanish) required since 2010 to the affiliated countries.
Estenssoro explains that a big advantage of the Emipas system is that it can be optimized because it allows the installation of software to read e-passports. This, in turn, gives way to the implementation of chips in the Bolivian documents.
In case of loss only the Bs495 must be paid to get a new book and to renew, the old must be nulled and the user can save the expired. [to keep current visas]
Improve the migration service
The new system of issuance of passports was acquired in 2009 from the Cuban company Datys, at a cost of 425 thousand dollars. And complies with international standards. [I just hope that Cuban service is as effective as from another country’s provider; I also hope my taxes used for this purpose went through a selection bidding process, and not by ‘political relation’]
The mechanism of attention to the user opened in September on the basis of a computer program developed by the technicians of migration.
3. Foreign service
In Madrid, Spain, and in Washington, USA, Bolivians can get their passports in the Bolivian consulates at a cost of $85 dollars (65.66 euros).
It is possible to travel only with ID card
Travel to some countries temporarily, especially in the region, it is possible to do it only with the ID card, pursuant to international agreements signed by the Bolivian State.
Member country of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and for being associated with the common market of the South (Mercosur), Bolivians may remain as tourists up to 90 days in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – in the case of the Andean countries – and Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, which are members of the South American trade bloc.
According to the Directorate of migration, in the case of work or studies it is necessary to have the passport and the corresponding visa managed at the Consulate or the offices concerned in the country of destination.
For the control of Bolivian citizens who travel only with identity card the Immigration Office installed control mechanisms, both at international airports and at 15 border crossings by land.
For countries that extend visas for longer than the validity of the Passport – as it is the case of the USA that grants visas for entry into its territory for ten years in a book that is valid for six years – it is inevitable to use the expired document, in addition to the existing to support that the traveler is authorized to enter the country legally.
It is commendable that bureaucracy is cut down to half hour, I remember spending three days in 2006, since 4am each day at long lines, where you even had to pay some money to get closer to the door. Good work, congrats!