Dozens of people have been lining up outside the office, some for days, even sleeping overnight on the promise that priority service would be given to those who are travelling in the next 24 to 48 hours.
However, security outside the office told them no walk-ins would be accepted on Friday and a group made their way inside the Central City Mall to get answers.
Avang Najarli, who waited in line for two nights outside the office and finally secure an appointment Thursday, was back at the office on Friday.
She said the issues began when mall security called the police to move the line outside.
“The police listened to what we had to say,” she said, “and then they said they were going inside to speak to a manager to see what they could do or get some information to help us.”
Najarli said the crowd became vocal and upset when the officers came back outside the office and told the line that the passport office was not going to be able to take any appointments or walk-ins for the next four days.
“Everyone started yelling, everyone started asking questions,” she said. “And then the passport office security came back outside asking us to ‘leave the property right now’ and go form a line back outside. As soon as we told them ‘no, the police said we can line up out there,’ three tickets showed up and three people were let in.”
In a Friday statement from Employment and Social Development Canada, the organization said the Surrey office is now “now offering walk-in service to those travelling in two business days and appointment-only service for those travelling within three to 25 days.
“Daily walk-in and appointment clients will be prioritized based on date of travel.”
Clients may also come down to the office to pick up their passport when it is ready.
Vancouver and Richmond offices both offer walk-in intake for urgent passport services as well and those offices are processing 200 urgent passport requests per day, the organization said.
“We appreciate that this situation has evolved and communication has been unclear. We regret the impact this has had on some clients. Local and regional management are onsite and are ensuring that urgent services are provided based on date of travel,” the statement read.
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