Renewing passports gets harder
Swedes living abroad in Scandinavian countries or the Baltics can no longer renew their passports by visiting the Swedish embassy. From the start of the new year, they have instead had to return home to Sweden to take care of this practicality, according to Swedish Radio News.
"I think it's a service that an embassy should be able to have," says Hanna Holst, who lives abroad. "Most of us who've moved abroad have a life here, and it's not always easy to find the time to take care of such a small detail like getting your passport renewed."
Holst mentions that the cost of renewing a passport goes up considerably, if you factor in the cost of the flight tickets you need to buy in order to go home to get it.
To save money, the foreign ministry is no longer offering passport renewal services at its embassies in Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Reykjavík, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, however, it remains possible to get a new passport at these embassies, and they continue to provide temporary passports for Swedes in emergency situations.
Charlotta Ozaki Macias, head of communications at the foreign ministry, responds to the criticism. "This is a way to be more effective and to focus on areas where resources are needed more. In Scandinavia, citizens don't need passports to travel around, so it's easy to travel from, for example, Oslo to Stockholm . . . to apply for a passport. So, we don't think it's that hard. But it is a change for the worse for some people."
Each year, about 30,000 Swedish passports are issued abroad, and according to Macias, there are no plans to restrict passport services at other embassies.