Passport chaos looms

Summer holidays at risk

Passport office

Earlier in the week, The Times reported that chaos was looming as the busy holiday season approached. They described how summer holidays were at risk for millions because of a “shambles” in processing passport renewals as ministers urged people to get applications in “as soon as possible”.

The government claims there has been an unprecedented surge in demand after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions because five million people had delayed renewing their passports during the pandemic. The Passport Office, however, is still understood to be largely working from home – similar to the staff DVLC and the consequent huge backlog of driving license renewals.

Under post-Brexit EU travel rules, Brits travelling abroad must have at least three months’ validity remaining on their passport, which threatens to put more strain on the system.

The Telegraph this morning reports that the head of the beleaguered government department was under pressure on Wednesday night to return to work full-time at its headquarters, as it emerged there are 700,000 outstanding applications to clear.

The crisis at the government agency has already forced the cancellation of family holidays and threatens to wreck the summer plans for tens of thousands of travellers. 

Boris Johnson has vowed to “privatise the a—” out of the office if the 10-week wait to receive new passports is not reduced in time for summer.

The Passport Office website states that Abi Tierney lives in Leicestershire. The family home is 100 miles from the Passport Office’s headquarters in central London and the journey takes about three hours, either by car or public transport.

Passport website crashes

The Mirror reported yesterday that the passport website had crashed as Brits fear they will have to cancel summer holidays: “Brits wanting to renew their passports before travelling overseas are reporting big delays and website issues, with some now despairing that they will have to rebook their trips”

Whilst reading the Telegraph you have to admire the wit of cartoonist Matt

COVID-19 in Madeira: updates can be found in an earlier post

4 thoughts on “Passport chaos looms”

  1. Also, check that your passport is only valid for 10 years and not 10 years and a few months. In the past when people realised their passports were soon to expire, say 5 months hence they then applied for a new passport. Because they effectively lost 5 months worth of passport usage the new passport would have 5 months or whatever, added to the new passport. Under eu rules this was ok whilst the UK was in the eu but now the eu only accepts non-eu passports of 10 years or less.

    A recent case of a family being refused boarding a flight to Portugal was recently highlighted.

    Check now, you have been warned.

    Reply
    • Compare to the Finnish situation where not only are passports only for 5 years but they also are only valid for 5 years from the date they are issued (with no added on 5 months as in the above example).

      So while we don’t have the really annoying situation outlined above – and it’s very good that Bob remains people about it – we do have similar delays compared to the usual pre-covid situation (in our case because some people making on-line applications need to go physically to the police for some reason (finger-printing?) and times are only available in several months time) and we have only a maximum of five years validity and thus need to go through this mess at least twice as often.

      [I can make my own passport application quite late and thus avoid that loss of months because I also have a (10-year!) UK passport which is on a different cycle]

      Reply

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