The passport office has extended its opening hours, including on Sundays in response to long queues of people wanting to submit applications.

The office will now be open between Monday and Friday from 7.30am to 6pm, on Saturdays between 7.30am and 2pm, and on Sundays between 7.30 and 11am.

In a Facebook post announcing the longer opening hours, Identity Malta said these were temporary measures but did not specify for how long the new hours will remain.

Times of Malta reported last week that a surge in the number of passport applications left people having to wait for more than a month for an appointment or face hours-long queues at the Marsa passport office. The rise in applications is down to renewed confidence in travelling after two years of pandemic-linked staycations.

A spokesperson for the home affairs ministry said the number of applications processed last month was almost double that of June 2019, the summer before COVID-19 hit.

Identity Malta recently launched an online appointment booking system to help “manage the flow of people” but when Times of Malta checked, the next available appointment for a minor’s passport or a first-time Maltese passport was mid-August.

One man said he arrived at the passport office at 7am to renew his children’s passports and found that there were already 30 other people in the queue before him.

Despite arriving half an hour before the offices opened, he waited over three hours to be seen, he said.

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