Travellers warned that one-day passport renewal takes 10 days

 

Travellers who realise their passport has expired only days before their intended departure abroad could find their summer holiday plans wrecked. The "premium one-day service" that the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) offers is so stretched that the wait for appointments at the London office can stretch to a week or more.

Sue Irving from London booked a last-minute holiday in Portugal, departing next Monday. After booking, she noticed the passports of both herself and her husband had expired.

The one-day service – for which applicants pay a premium of £52 on the normal cost of a passport – is designed for straightforward cases such as this. But first the applicant must secure an appointment through the IPS Passport Adviceline. Demand appears to be outstripping availability.

Ms Irving said: "I called the Passport Office only to be told that the first available date in London was 10 days ahead, by which time we would have lost the holiday. I then asked about other offices, and was told I could get an earlier appointment in Peterborough – but I would have to stay overnight and collect the passport the following day."

In a test call made by The Independent, we were told that the wait for an appointment at the London IPS office was 11 days. An earlier appointment, in five days, was available in Peterborough. An IPS spokesman later said that appointments in London were, in fact, available in five days. He added: "During peak times demand for appointments in all IPS offices is usually very high and we may not always be able to offer an appointment for the next day. However, when applicants call the Passport Adviceline, they will automatically be offered an appointment at the next nearest alternative office if their first preference isn't able to offer them an appointment on the day they would like."

It appears that persistence may pay off for some applicants.

Ms Irving said: "Since receiving the Peterborough appointment I have been phoning the passport office every few hours in the hope of a cancellation. I was given a choice of times only two days later in London."

The IPS warns: "Access to offices will not be allowed to casual callers", but anecdotal evidence suggests that turning up with a reasonable story and full documentation may bear fruit.

A senior figure in the travel industry who organised a trip to Germany for a team outing could not find his passport, so went to the London passport office and was able to secure a replacement the same day.

An IPS spokesman said: "If passport applicants need to travel in an emergency or on compassionate or urgent grounds, the IPS aims to offer an appointment as soon as possible."

The IPS stresses that travellers should not book travel until they have a valid passport.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: International Project Coordinator / Account Coordinator

    Circa £26,500 DOE: Guru Careers: An International Project Coordinator / Accoun...

    Guru Careers: Plumber / Maintenance Operator

    £25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Plumber / Mainten...

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen