The Passport Office & Third Parties
The United Kingdom's passport industry is a multi million pound network. Getting your first passport or renewing your old passport gives you the freedom to travel the world, but who is involved in the passport process and why are they part of the industry?
For many services HM Passport Office rely on third party companies to ensure that passport applications are completed quickly and securely.The services that these companies provide cover a wide range of aspects of passport production. Many of these offer everything from application forms and stationary, checking and verification services, processing of passport applications to the printing of passports and courier services for delivery as well as information and advice on guidelines.
Her Majesty's Passport Office is the sole provider for all UK passports; this means that they and only they have the authorization to print your passports. Before 2011 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had control of issuing passports for British passports issued overseas. However in 2011 the control of this has since be.en handed back to the UK Home Office.
Different Passport Offices
The Passport Office employs thousands of people all over the country and most of them are based at one of the seven offices based around the UK.
The 8 main Passport Offices are located in:
The staff here cover everything from photos and mistakes on forms to fees and supporting documents. They also ensure all of the security in the building and of all of your sensitive information. Please note however that you are only able to attend a local passport office if you have a pre-booked appointment, due to security they will not allow access to the building without a valid appointment reference number. If you are interested in booking an appointment you can find your nearest passport office.
The Post Office
The Post Office has, for many, been a go to place for anything passport related. As a third party service provider for HM Passport Office they provide passport application forms with all the relevant information and guidelines as well as having the verified photo booths to make sure you get your passport photos right first time.
The Post Office also offers additional Check and Send service which, for a fee, they will review your application form to ensure that it is complete and correct. Please be aware that when using the Post Office Check & Send that it is not a fast-track service and the time-scales are the same as any postal applications averaging 3-5 weeks.
The Passport Advice Line
The Passport Advice Line is operated by a third party company called Teleperformance UK Limited, they provide information and advice via the Passport Office contact line. You are also able to book appointments using this phone service for both the 1 Day Premium and 1 Week Fast-Track service.
When calling the advice line you are not in-fact speaking directly with HM Passport Office but a third party call centre whereby the operates are only able to assist with enquiries and booking services. Unfortunately you are unable to contact the main passport offices listed above directly by phone, and you must direct all enquiries via Teleperformance UK.
Alternative Booking Services
Other third party providers offer additional services when booking appointments, which allow customers to book online 24/7 and also provide additional support and guidance for customers who are looking to apply for or renew a British Passport.
These services are often used by customers who wish to avoid using the Post Office services and are recommended for customers who are based abroad and are unable to call non-geographic telephone numbers such as the advice line, mentioned previously.
Third party providers are also able to provide further advice and guidance by phone and email outside of office hours, which can be more convenient for busy individuals or those based abroad. If you would like to take advantage of this service you can book your urgent appointment online.
When applying for your passport either via post or when attending the fast-track 1 week service, your passport will be delivered via secure courier services. HM Passport Office will often use secure and approved third party courier services for Passports to ensure that these important legal documents are tracked and delivered securely.
For the majority of applications that need to supply supporting documents (such as Birth or Marriage Certificates), please note that HM Passport Office will send these back via Royal Mail 2nd Class post and not a secure courier, however you can opt for your supporting documents to be sent via Royal Mail Secure Delivery for an additional fee when starting your application either online or by post.
Third-Party providers are the backbone of the passport industry
Her Majesty's Passport Offices uses third-party providers in order to ensure you get the best possible service when applying for your passport. It is important to remember this includes a variety of people, companies and agencies that all work hard to ensure that the passport application process runs as smooth as possible.
There have been many statements in the media surrounding third party service providers and The Passport Office but in reality there is a network of third parties all providing a valuable service, and without these third parties HM Passport Office would not be able to operate as quickly and efficiently as it does. We hope that this article helps you understand the benefits of this system and hope that you will be able to get all the help and guidance you need when applying for your passport.