The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee is not happy with the referral from the Municipality of Almere to the military police, now that Almeerders cannot go to civil affairs for a passport or identity card until August. As a result, there is a high demand for emergency documents.
“Last week we issued 230 emergency documents at the desk at Schiphol alone, while in the previous period there were 1 or 2 per week. We notice that a large part of the travelers comes from Almere,” says Mike Hofman of the Marechaussee against Broadcasting Flevoland.
Last week Almere reported that it will not be possible to apply for an identity card or passport in the coming weeks due to IT problems and summer crowds. Now that travel is possible again, more people are going on holiday abroad. People whose passports have expired are referred by the municipality to the Marechaussee.
That is not the intention, according to Hoffman. “We are not really happy that a municipality makes such a statement. We cannot replace the municipality as the issuer of passports or ID cards.” The Marechaussee can only issue an emergency document under strict conditions and that is only valid for a specific trip. “It is therefore not a replacement for a regular identity card or passport.”
Stress among travelers
It is also not always possible to obtain an emergency document, which means that some holidays or business trips cannot take place. This causes a lot of stress for travelers. “People often panic, are tense and often call crying,” Hofman says.
Moreover, the Marechaussee itself also encounters problems due to the problems at the municipality. When issuing an emergency document, the Marechaussee must be able to check the identity of the entire family. “That is sometimes difficult, because we use an extract from the Basic Registration of Persons, but the municipality of Almere is not providing that at the moment.”
In other municipalities it is also extra busy at the counters for civil affairs, such as in Utrechtse Heuvelrug, Amersfoort and Wijdemeren. Sometimes residents have to wait up to four weeks for a new proof of identity. In The Hague, the opening hours of civil affairs have been temporarily extended to better cope with the crowds.