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Cairo: Lebanon, facing an acute economic crisis, has said it stopped receiving its citizens’ applications for new passports due to a shortage of money and soaring demand.

The country’s General Security Directorate said it passport stock is running short because of excessive applications.

“Since 2020, the directorate’s departments have witnessed such huge pressure in applications to get passports that the demand has been far higher than the situation in the past years. This has affected their passport stocks,” the directorate said in a statement.

The agency added that it is beginning to run out of new passports and as such has suspended receiving applications starting from Wednesday. ”This will continue until the state institutions concerned take the necessary measures and provide the required funds,” it said.

Lebanese authorities have yet to pay for more passports to be produced “at a time when the available amount of passports has started to run out,” the Directorate added.

“Accordingly, General Security was forced to stop work on the passport appointment platform as of 27 April,” it said, clarifying that those with pre-existing appointments are still eligible for new travel documents.

The suspension will last until funds are paid to the company contracted to issue new passports, it said, meaning those without existing appointments are left with no idea as to when they might get a new passport.

Even those able to gain appointments have often had to wait months.

According to an Arab Barometer survey published this month, around half of Lebanon’s population is looking to exit the country.

Lebanon is roiled by its worst economic woes in decades, prompting increasing numbers of its people to seek to leave the country.

Around 80,000 Lebanese left the homeland for migration last year, Sky News Arabia reported.

Earlier this week, a boat carrying about 60 migrants capsized off Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, resulting in fatalities.

-- With inputs from AFP