Ombudsman asks for solution to citizenship office's long lines

Ombudsman Juris Jansons repeatedly calls on the Ministry of Interior to urgently address the situation in order to improve access to basic services of the Citizenship and Migration Affairs Office (PMLP). According to the Ombudsman,  a situation in which people have to wait in long queues in the snow for several hours is not acceptable, the Ombudsman's Office said in a release on February 8.

People are complaining to the Ombudsman that families and children are waiting in long queues in winter weather conditions. The situation is particularly congested in Rīga.

There are also shortcomings with the acquisition of queue numbers in the “Qticket” mobile app – it is not possible to get them at times, but in other cases, the expected queue waiting time is significantly different from the actual.

"We are repeatedly asking the responsible ministry to inform us whether and what measures are planned to be put in place to improve the situation quickly," Jansons said in a statement to the media.

The Ombudsman also asks residents to be responsible, namely to check the validity of their documents in good time and not to postpone their replacement to the very last moment, which leads to even greater queues, discontent, and other inconvenience.

The Ombudsman has previously expressed the view that the availability of basic services raises not only concerns about the principle of good governance but points to systemic shortcomings in the organization of the work of the institution, which undermines the authority of the public administration as a whole.

As reported several times by LSM, the long lines at PMLP are exacerbated by the fact that all Latvian citizens over the age of 15 need an eID by May of this year, as well as the fact that many did not renew their documents during the pandemic. PMLP is also short-staffed and struggling to fill the vacant spots.

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