It seems there’s a bit of a backlog in new passports being issued, with latest reports indicating 465,000 passport applications being delayed and the UK Passport Agency having difficulty processing them.
Apparently a “12 year surge” in applications, along with of overseas passport renewals to be processed in the UK (rather than at local consulates) is enough to cause a backlog that requires extra workers to come in to assist in the backlog.
As a result, the following has been rolled into effect:
- Overseas UK passport holders renewing an existing passport will be allowed to extend it for 12 months – and updated at the local consulate. Applications and appointments can be made from 16th June at no cost to the passport holder
- Parents or guardians of children living overseas who wish to travel to the UK will be able to apply for an emergency travel document in place of a new or renewed passport for their children.
- People in the UK who have an urgent need to travel will be able to upgrade their application without charge. Qualification for this means applicants be booked to travel within the next 7 days and their application must have been with the Passport Office for longer than the standard processing time of three weeks through no fault of their own. You’ll need to provide flight numbers and travel company details to confirm the travel plans. This is not available to those who those who have made a first passport applications – unless it is on what the UK Government calls “valid compassionate grounds”
The Fast-Track option normally costs £128 on a standard UK Passport.
The UK Passport Agency is in a spin, with politicians playing ball and the usual blame game in progress. A few days ago, there was a denial that there was even a problem with passport delay – now we have a 180 degree turn, with renewals and documents delayed.
The fact is this: If you haven’t got your passport for the summer holidays yet – there’s a strong chance if you’re applying for a passport now that you’re going to suffer delays. Guidance given also states “don’t book a holiday until you’ve got a passport”, with normal times taking 3 weeks – with up to 6 weeks for first time application. Some application are taking 8 weeks…. and beyond.
Considering that UK Passports are not exactly cheap documents – starting at £72.50 without checks, £81.25 with checks at Post Office (and jumbo sized passport even more) – there’s pretty much no customer service right now… and pretty poor value for your tax pound.