Home Office takes over, how will this affect the backlog?
As of the 1st of October 2014, the Home Office has taken control of the UK's Passport Office. This governmental shift will not affect the applications that you make, as the same forms and procedures will be followed, but there will be amendments made to some of the emergency measures put in place over the summer.
Currently, around 80,000 passports are still caught in the backlog, including those who used the fast track services. The delay to those applicants who had paid extra caused a backlash, with holiday makers unable to get away during the peak vacation season.
The Home Office will be assessing, among other subjects, whether the £30 extra paid by applicants for the fast track service should be refunded to those affected by the delays.
Overseas citizens can continue to apply for one year extension
During the passport crisis, British expats who needed to renew their passports were given an automatic 12 month/ one year extension on their passports, in order to help manage the growing influx of applications.
This will be kept under review by the Home Office during the coming months, with a view to processing renewals in the near future.
This means that expats can continue to travel with their passport extensions, but should keep an eye on when applications for renewals re-opens and they can get their new passports.
Fast track upgrades for those travelling within 7 days
In order to prioritise the numerous passport applications that were received, the Passport Office began offering complimentary upgrades for those travelling within 7 days. This was an attempt to avoid further public anger and disappointment resulting from the unexpected, lengthy delays.
Domestic applicants who have travel plans within the next week will continue to be upgraded to the fast track service for free at this time. This will stay under review as the Home Office assesses the levels of the backlog and the rate that passports begin to be processed.
Emergency travel documents for overseas children stopped
While overseas citizens were given extensions on their passports, parents applying on behalf of their children were able to claim emergency travel documents instead of receiving a passport extension. These documents would then allow the children to travel without a renewed passport.
The Home Office has decided that this emergency procedure will now come to an end. Applications for overseas children have returned to normal. This emergency service will not be entirely unavailable, but will only be available of urgent or compassionate grounds.
Need more information?
Talk to the Passport Office team
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