Passport Office backlog: Home Office reveals how delayed renewal applications can be fast-tracked for free
Details come as interviews for first-time passports in London are suspended
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Friday 13 June 2014
Details of how people facing delays can have their passport-renewal fast-tracked for free have been published by the Home Office, after a huge backlog of unprocessed applications was revealed.
The Prime Minister David Cameron disclosed earlier this week that there were at least 30,000 applications outstanding which had not been processed within the normal three-week limit.
The Home Secretary Theresa May announced plans to deal with the back log on Thursday, where she said people with an "urgent need" to travel would have their application upgraded to fast-track free of charge. It would normally cost £103 for this service.
Labour claims the government should have expected the surge in applications and has called for the Home Sectary to apologise over the “shambles”.
When asked whether Mr Cameron thought Mrs May should apologise, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "I would put it differently and say that, of course, if people's passports have been delayed and people have been inconvenienced, of course the Government is sorry for that."
The PM still has “full confidence” in Ms May, the spokesperson added.
To qualify for fast-tracked passports, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- People must be booked to travel within the next seven days
- The Passport Office must have had their application for longer than three weeks.
- Any delays to their applications must be "through no fault of their own". If someone has filled in their form incorrectly or not provided the right information they will not benefit from the service.
- The scheme is temporary and is not retrospective.
- Adults applying for their first passport will be excluded unless they have valid compassionate grounds for needing to travel.
In a statement, Ms May said she “understood the anxiety” of people waiting for new passports and pledged the Government would do everything within its power to ensure holidaymakers received their passports in good time.
Some of the measures introduced in a bid to curb the crisis include giving those applying for a renewal overseas an automatic one-year extension on their ravel documents if their passports were about to run out.
Meanwhile, the Home Office has now suspended interviews in London for first-time applicants for passports as staff struggle to deal with the 30,000 backlog of applications.
First-time adult applicants who have booked in for interviews at HM Passport Office's Globe House office in Victoria are being directed to other passport offices in South East England so staff there can concentrate on fast-track renewals.
A Home Office spokeswoman said that it was normal practice during busy times and that only a "handful" of people had been affected.
"It is nothing out of the ordinary. It happened last year," the spokeswoman insisted.
Additional reporting by Press Association
- 2 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Jackie Chan in second place in Forbes' Highest Paid Actors list after magazine includes actors working outside US movie industry
Malaysia issues arrest warrant for Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law after she publishes stories on leader Najib Razak's financial affairs
Natalia Molchanova: World's most successful free-driver is missing and feared dead after disappearing in Mediterranean
Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
£35 - 38k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager ...
£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A qualified electrician require...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...