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
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
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...