Lindeners and those persons from parts of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) can now access passport services via the newly-constructed Linden passport office at Retrieve, Mackenzie. While not officially opened, operational services commenced last week, with a number of persons already taking advantage.Superintendent Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Ewart Wray, who was present at the facility, noted that the aim is to have persons in Linden aware that services are now being offered at the new office, ahead of the official opening.He also noted that the office has since ceased all operations from within the Linden branch of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) building, which had provided renewal and passport upliftment services.Wray said officials were at the time testing the system of operation to ensure that it was of efficient standards.“We are here today to have applicants submit their applications for new machine-readable passports. All categories of passports we’re accepting here…If this is the first time you’re acquiring a passport, you apply here. If you’re changing from a non-machine-readable passport to a machine-readable passport, you apply here. So, persons from the town of Linden would have no reason to go to our office in Georgetown. You’re also going to acquire your passport here at this office. So, this is what we’re doing now. Of course, this is not a formal opening of the office, but it still requires everyone to come here”, Wray told this publication.He added that operations will be conducted from Monday to Friday from 8:00h to 15:00h and applicants will also be required to uplift their passports at the Linden office. Wray boasted that the office is fully equipped with the necessary technology and security and that all systems are in place to facilitate smooth operation.He highlighted that requirements for applicants seeking to acquire new passports include: a birth certificate, National Identification Card (for adults), $6,000, a passport-sized photograph, and an application form.The Head of Immigration Services pointed out that while the wait time to acquire a new passport at the central immigration office in Georgetown is 5 working days, it will take 7 working days at the Linden office, since passports are still being produced in Georgetown.In cases where a new applicant is married, he noted that a female would require a marriage certificate and a copy of her husband’s birth certificate, or the bio-data page of his passport. Wray said the office also caters to other categories of passports— including lost or damaged at a cost of $15,000.He also alluded that all immigration officers operating from within the Linden office are fully trained and experienced to handle passport services.“I’m encouraging persons to come across here to have their passports done. I want to reiterate that one does not need to go to the old office where we were operating at the NIS building, they are required to come here”, Wray reiterated.He further pointed out that the commencement of services at Linden is expected to reduce the number of persons visiting the central office for new passports.“We are experiencing a reduction in the number of persons since we would have started operating in New Amsterdam and we do expect the same as we start operating here…we have the capacity to deliver the necessary service to the public…”, the Head of Immigration Services added.He said persons can expect hassle-free services once all the requirements are met as he cited commitment in ensuring a timely service.“We believe that we are providing a service to Guyanese citizens who are required to have passports. We are here to ensure that they understand what the requirements are. Providing they fulfil those requirements, there is no difficulty in them acquiring a passport. So, we’re going to ensure that persons get their passports in a timely manner”, Wray stressed.He also said that other services would be announced when the office is formally opened.