I just got back to Beirut earlier this morning and I got past the General Security just like I do every time. My renewed passport wasn’t confiscated and I wasn’t even warned that I can no longer travel with this passport. Also I didn’t see any announcements or receive any pamphlets that clarify this whole mess but I’m not surprised. In fact, the General Security has done little to contain this crisis and people are still confused on what to do next or what to expect when traveling.
Here’s a small update on this whole passport mess based on the articles and statements that followed the original memo:
Who should get a new passport ASAP?
1- If your passport was renewed by hand (before 2015) for five years, you will need to get a new passport ASAP or else you might be barred from entering your destination, even if you have the necessary visas.
2- If your passport includes accompanied individuals such as children, you will need to get a new passport ASAP.
3- If you live abroad and either 1) or 2) apply, you should head to the nearest Lebanese consulate or embassy and apply for a new passport. Old passports will not be withdrawn and the process to get a new passport should take less than usual.
PS: Even if your passport expires in few months, try to get a new one the soonest and don’t wait for the biometric passports to come out because the Lebanese authorities “think they should be ready by July”, so it’s not happening anytime soon. If you are not flying any time soon, try to wait 3-4 weeks until things calm down then go apply for a new passport. My friends spent the whole day last week trying to get their new passports.
Who shouldn’t worry about his passport?
1- If your passport is still new, then you don’t have to worry about anything.
2- The newly issued passports will not be annulled by the forthcoming bio-metric passports, which means that your passport will remain valid even when bio-metric passports are rolled out.
Stuff You Should Know:
1- General Security will not reimburse for the cost of new passports, so if you renewed your passport in 2014 by hand and still have 3 years to go, you will lose your old passport and pay for the new one.
2- General Security extended office opening times until 4 p.m till Jan 18.
3- The International Aviation Organization is not accepting passports that have been renewed by hand anymore, so you might be barred from entering any country. Nov 24, 2015 was the final deadline by the way.
4- The Lebanese General Security was notified of the need to change the practice at the end of 2012!
All in all, this whole mess could have been avoided by a simple SMS, FB Post, tweet or TV campaign. Anything could have been better than posting a memo on a website no one visits.
[DailyStar], [Assafir], [General-Security],[Annahar]