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Helsinki police report "unprecedented" passport queues

Around 800 people have been queuing up daily at the Pasila police station in the capital.

Image: Matias Väänänen / Yle

Police departments around the country have reported an uptick in people seeking to renew their passports. However in Helsinki, the permit unit in Pasila said queues were "unprecedented" on Friday.

Around 800 people have been queuing up daily at the Pasila station, with most people showing up to apply for or renew passports. Wait times have stretched to two hours, with some having had to wait their turn outside the station.

Police said the rush was due to many citizens allowing their passports to expire during the pandemic.

In Espoo, the earliest time for booking a passport or ID card renewal is three months away. At the moment, police booking systems are also backlogged in many other parts of the country.

People whose passports or ID cards expired more than a year ago must book an in-person visit to a police station to resubmit their fingerprints.

Some 250,000 adults and 138,000 minors in Finland did not have a valid passport at the beginning of February.