British expat passport applications prioritised
In order to help with the backlog of UK passport applications that now threatens the plans of hundreds of thousands of people, British Home Secretary Theresa May has promised secure, 1 year cost-free passport extensions to the British as well as emergency travel documentation for their children.
Whilst the fast-tracking service that’s designed to facilitate more time-sensitive travel plans of passport applicants is still in service, the UK government has come under escalating pressure to reimburse the money spent by those who’ve been failed by Britain’s overwhelmed system.
Some 30,000 are received by HM’s Passport Office annually, but since transferring issuance offices inland at the start of the year, a raft of staffing solutions have been required and introduced to help procure a passport-processing window of just 3 weeks or less.
Standard passport application delays of up to 12 weeks or more have caused widespread concern for anyone planning to travel abroad and whether for business or pleasure, the system’s shortfalls have been widely recognised as an embarrassment to both Britain and its Government.
UK passport offices have staff levels increased and are currently open from 7am until midnight, but the fact that the Canadian passport system currently works on an average 4-day turnaround, certainly contrasts sharply with Britain’s flawed and increasingly contentious system.
With passport-dependent careers, accommodation and to protect, expats are hopeful of a speedy resolution. Those whose plans have been disrupted by this ongoing debacle can now sign an online petition and contribute to the growing call for an end to the passport chaos.
By Anthony Standring
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