Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Global Impact: All British Passports Now Being Processed in Liverpool, Months, Not Weeks Reported

According to the UK's The Telegraph, British expats have been hit by long delays in receiving new passports as they prepare for their summer breaks. 

Her Majesty's Passport Office has warned that processing times are "significantly longer" in relation to applications from overseas than those filed by UK residents.

The reason behind the delays is that all applications for overseas passports are now processed by HM Passport Office in the UK, and not by British embassies, consulates and high commissions abroad.

Previously, overseas applications were handled by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's seven regional processing centers in Düsseldorf, Hong Kong, Madrid, Paris, Pretoria, Washington and Wellington, but not apparently anymore.

All British passports are now processed by a central application processing center in Liverpool.

New guidance has now been issued for overseas applicants to reflect the time it takes to issue a passport on a country-by-country basis.  

COMMENT: In a bizarre and inexplicable sequence of events, all foreign ministries seem to be taking much, much longer to issue expat passports, the cost is prohibitively higher and rather than being able to issue passports in a decentralized fashion,  all management systems seem to be failing.

Passports take about three weeks to be processed for those living in the UK. 

Yet, for overseas applicants the wait is at least six weeks and first-time applications can take eight weeks or more. "We recommend customers do not book travel until they have received their passport,” a spokesman added. 

British passport holders in Hong Kong have also complained of huge delays, with reports of waits of up to three months for a new passport. 

In a recent letter to the editor of the Telegraph Weekly World Edition, Guy Dormehl, an expat in the Western Cape, South Africa, noted: "We had to renew our UK and South African passports recently – the UK ones cost nearly £200 (US$334.96) and took four months, the South Africa ones were done in two weeks for less than £30 (US$50.24)." 

Brian Redfern posted on our Facebook page: "Ten years ago I could renew my UK passport via the Consulate in Oslo under a week. Six to eight weeks is now the turnaround time for renewing a passport from Norway." 

Country-by-country advice on applying for a passport from overseas is available at gov.uk/overseas-passports

The cost of renewing a standard adult red 32-page passport is £102.86 (US$172.28)) including courier fees.