BEIRUT — General Security urged citizens Thursday not to "rush" to request passport renewals and to let those "mostly in need" apply first.
The statement comes as Lebanese citizens scramble in recent months to apply for new passports.
In its statement Thursday, General Security said that it has "enough passports to meet all the requests inside Lebanon and in foreign countries."
It also urged "those who are not in an immediate need to request a passport to let those who are most in need get priority."
The statement added that though General Security is limited to producing 3,000 passports daily, it receives more than 5,000 applications each day. Around 80 percent of the new passports handed over to citizens went used, the statement added, without clarifying. "This means that the reasons to rush to get the passports are not justified."
Confusion abounded at Lebanese General Security on Wednesday regarding the possible relaunch of an online platform to make appointments for passport applications.
Rumors about the platform circulated on social media. A General Security spokesperson told L'Orient-Le Jour that the agency tried to restart the online platform on Tuesday, but quickly back-tracked.
Demand for passports exploded after the onset of Lebanon's economic crisis, creating a shortage of travel documents. The online platform was created in response to high demand, and the listed wait time quickly grew to a year or more.
The platform's closure was announced earlier this year by then-Director of Security, General Abbas Ibrahim. At the time, citizens were invited to return to "normal" renewal procedures, i.e. going directly to a General Security center without a prior appointment.
However, "the pressure of requests did not fall," the spokesperson said, with long lines still visible at General Security office entrances across the country.