Travel restrictions due to the pandemic have led to a sharp decline in passport applications. Last year, the Passport Office received 32,300 fewer applications than in the previous year.
Recently the Office of Passports and the Public Registry – where birth, marriage and death documents are documented – have moved out of Evan’s Building in Valletta and are now operating from a spacious and accessible building in Marsa.
Over the past year, the Passport Office received 18,834 applications for the issuance of passports, a substantial decrease compared to the 51,210 applications made in 2019. Of the applications made last year, 568 were urgent applications and 133 were for emergency-issued travel documents.
The Passport Office no longer offers services to the public from Valletta but from a new building in Marsa. The head of the office, Joanne Caruana, said the place offers better facilities for employees and the public, with the application process remaining the same.
” Another entity within Identity Malta that has moved to Marsa is the Public Registry which last year had 4,206 birth registrations, 3,570 death registrations and 1,652 marriage registrations. As a result of the pandemic, there were 381 couples who postponed marriage and marriage banns had to be postponed to future dates.
The Head of the Public Registry, Vince Sladden, explained that these couples will not be required to pay for the marriage banns again. Mr Sladden said the fact that the Public Registry and Passport offices moved from Valletta to Marsa offers several advantages to the public.
” The move of the Public Registry from Valletta to Marsa was part of a holistic process to be able to serve people much better. The building is designed to cater for people with special needs, as well as being very accessible to both those who come by car and those who come by bus. ”
Mr Sladden reminded that public registry services are also provided online, while birth and death notifications can be made from an Identity Malta office at Mater Dei hospital.
The services related to identity cards are still provided by the Identity Malta office at Gattard House, Blata l-Bajda.