By Hovannes Shoghikian
A senior police representative on Tuesday boasted of an imminent ‘logical conclusion’ in the ongoing reforms of the country’s notoriously bureaucracy-stricken passport and visa authorities, saying that new changes in the system leave a narrower scope for procrastinations and abuse.
Deputy Police Chief Gevorg Mherian, in particular, said citizens in capital Yerevan can expect to be issued a passport within five working days after applying.
“At the same time, we have made a provision that passports can be issued even within shorter terms,” said Mherian, adding that a corresponding fee will be required to expedite the service.
In particular, a fee of about $65 will be required to get a passport within one working day.
The police colonel explained that the additional payment would compensate for the extra efforts and resources applied in rendering the service.
Also, from now on citizens can expect to get exit visas in their travel documents and prolong the validity of their passports within one working day without paying any fee beside the envisaged state duty, Mherian added.
Changes have also been introduced in the procedure of replacing passports and travel documents for underage bearers.
“Our underage citizens have the right to be issued a passport at any age and this passport will be valid for the duration of three years,” Mherian said. “And they are allowed to change these passports at any time.”
Another novelty, according to the police official, is that the agreement of both parents for their child or children to receive a passport or an exit visa will no longer have to be certified by the notary’s office. This provision, however, will not be applied if one of the parents objects to his or her child’s leaving the country. “This dispute will have to be settled in court,” Mherian explained.
The police colonel also said that male citizens aged under 18 will no longer encounter problems when applying for exit visas.
“The former practice was to require information from the military enlistment office. The law does not envisage such restriction, nor does the constitution,” Mherian concluded.