Online Passport Application Tracking Solution
How to enhance the satisfaction and well-being of passport appointment applicants through the timely tracking of the progress of the preparation (and eventual delivery) of their passports?
The Immigration Division of the Ministry of National Security wishes to develop a digital solution that enables passport applicants to easily receive updates on the availability and readiness of their passport throughout the application process.
From August 1st, 2023, the Immigration Division will start using an e-appointment system for managing passport appointments. The new appointment system to exist from August 2023 was built with php, html and node.js connected to a SQL server database.
However, there are no document production tracking features currently attached to this solution.
The current passport production process is split into five broad phases and would normally be done in batches, with all attempts to ensure passports are ready for delivery within a 4 to 6 week time frame.
Applicants are currently able to inquire into the status of their documents by contacting the Passport Office by phone or email.
A conservative estimate of the extent of passport enquiries (local and foreign) per week is currently between 150 and 175.
Information about the status of passport production is derived from one of the Passport Issuing Control System’s (PICS) report generation modules by Immigration Officers.
Immigration Officers who must divert their attention on a regular basis from the production process to respond to particular document status inquiries, contribute to the further slowing down overall batch production times. Also, if the inquiry comes with a particularly irate tone that may add to the officer’s stress on the job and a (temporary) decline in job satisfaction.
Applicants who need the use of a new passport by certain deadlines may find the lack of information about the status of their document a stress inducing experience which may unfortunately feed into an imbalanced public perception of government inefficiency.
Organization is motivated by the desire to keep pace with more modern and efficient approaches to service delivery on par with other countries/governments who are serious about digital transformation, as well as the desire to reduce customer complaints (by at least 50% within a 12 month timeframe for example) and enhance customer satisfaction with the overall passport application process.
The solution should provide applicants with the convenience of setting and receiving relevant feedback about passport completion/delivery updates, without having to rely entirely on a pre-registered email address.
The solution should enable the passport applicant to get brief, useful and timely updates about the readiness or availability of their passports (e.g. using several stages: 1) Processing -> 2) Awaiting shipment -> 3) Shipped, as an example).
For the applicants, solution would help to manage the expectations about the status or availability of their documents and help to reduce their stress and “travel planning anxiety” levels, thereby enhancing public perception of improved government efficiency and concern for public well-being.
For the Immigration Division, decreased number of complaints and inquiries would significantly lessen the extent of interruptions of the passport production process thereby allowing the Division to meet its passport production quotas in an even more timely fashion, and accordingly, to reduce job stress levels among Immigration Officers (IO) involved in passport production which can translate into increased job satisfaction.
The actual passport production process is supported in part by the Canadian Bank Note (CBN) Passport Issuing and Control System (PICS) software which has 3 tiers (front, middle and back end). It was created in the C programming language and sits on top of an Oracle database (12.1).
On the hardware side, the system runs in a virtualized environment with Window 10 based systems on the front end and Linux (Open SUSE) based servers on the back end.
No API’s or sockets currently exist to facilitate the transfer of individual passport production status information from PICS to a mobile app.
Apart from the appointment setting process, this effort represents the first attempt on the Immigration Division’s part to explore resolving the challenge with document status reporting with the aid of ICT.