Daily applications to travel on British National (Overseas) passports after 1997 have increased as much as tenfold this month with just days remaining until Sunday's deadline. The last-minute rush began after immigration officials revealed more than 2.2 million remained eligible for the BNO passport before the cut-off date at the end of this month. Those eligible carry either Certificates of Identity or do not possess a travel document. In the first 25 days of March, more than 72,518 applied for naturalisation, more than double the figure for the whole of last year. The daily number has swollen from 643 on March 1 to more than 8,000 on some days last week. Applicants must first be granted a British Dependent Territories Citizen document - invalid after the sovereignty change - before going forward for the BNO. Meanwhile, a mini-survey by immigration staff found about one per cent of people lining up were not eligible. Many of those rejected were subject to conditions of stay such as foreign workers. Others were already BDTC holders. The department said it had no plans to extend office hours except on Sunday, when applications would be received from 8 am until midnight. 'Everyone in the queue will be cleared,' the spokesman said.