It’s that time of the 5 years again… time to scratch your head and attempt to recall what needs to be done to renew that handy little red book that let’s you travel the world (given sufficient money). Fortunately for us, there’s now Google, and relatively well documented procedures available online on how to go about this gargantuan task. Well, it isn’t gargantuan anymore… at least compared to the good ol’ days when renewing your passport used to be a “whole day” affair which involved waking up at the crack of dawn, speeding off to the immigration department, and joining a snaking queue the length of which Mo Farah would have trouble running. After all of that, and questionable amounts of waiting… all you would have achieved is getting a number… which would be served about 2 hours later. Anyway, enough about the glory days of renewing passports when men were men. Nowadays, it’s a mostly painless affair.
There’s the option of “online renewal”, where you fill out your details, upload a photo, and pray to various deities that the immigration website is in a good mood at the time when you’re interacting with it. I can’t say for sure that it never works, since the last time I tried it out was 5 years ago and the only thing I remember about the outcome is that there was no outcome – it failed miserably. So in this mountain of words, we’ll skip the online bit… but assuming it works for you, you go directly to your selected pick up point, and pick up your passport I assume.
In my case, my fingerprints were apparently buggered in the system, so I was directed to an immigration department of my choice. I chose the one opposite Publika, because, well, I have stuff to do around there anyway. Here’s the incredibly surprising timeline for my adventures in the immigration department:
10:00AM – Arrival & number taken
10:45AM – Photo & details taken
11:00AM – Payment made
Doing errands in Publika
2:05PM – Receipt/number taken
2:08PM – Collection of Passport
- There is a dress code… apparently. It isn’t 100% clear, but, according to the signboards… no shorts, singlets, slippers, or those tattered jeans for the fashion conscious. I appeared in shorts, but nobody said anything… so I’m assuming that the shorts they had on the signboard were aimed more towards the Richard Simmons styled shorts from the 80s. My shining beacon of white thighs didn’t show at any point.
- Payment is CASH ONLY on site, so do make sure to carry enough $$$ to pay for your new passport. This should set you back RM200 per passport, unless you are really young or really old. For users attempting the online route, there appears to be the option to pay with a credit card or via bank transfer.
- The immigration department closes for lunch daily from 1:00PM to 2:00PM (except on Friday but I conveniently forgot what time they close on that day – just assume it’s something like closed up to 3:00PM and you should be safe). The lady at the payment counter (11:00AM lady) said that my passport should be ready in an hour, which basically meant that I could have picked it up at around 12:00PM, but I decided to give them a little extra time just in case. I came back at 1:00PM, and found out that they’re closed from 1:00PM to 2:00PM… and now you know where I found out this nugget from.
- There is a severe shortage of parking at the Immigration Department (referring to the one across the street from Publika) especially in the morning. I’d advise you to take a quick loop or two around the parking area just to try your luck, and if you don’t see anything, park in Publika and walk over. Unless you’ve got someone with you to car-sit while you do the necessary. You could risk parking on the road side, but when I attempted that today, I ended up being a whisker away from a summons. I was a little more lucky in the afternoon, and while I was sitting in the car waiting 2:00PM for lunch hour to be over, I did notice a number of spots available… so afternoon may be a better choice to do everything.
All in, actual time spent at the Immigration Department (not including my errands in Publika and my idiot mistake to not check the lunch hour) would have been approximately 2 hours including the wait for the collection (assuming I had waited). I’m thoroughly impressed…
That said, please fix the website… so less time can be wasted.