The Passport office is currently experiencing an overwhelming amount of applications as people prepare to go away on their summer holidays. This pressure is causing a backlog of applications with some people being left high and dry with no passport on their day of travel.
Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness has heard from a number of his constituents about the problem in recent days and has written to the Passport Office to find out what is causing the delays and what steps are being taken to sort it out.
Commenting on the problem Graham said, “It is clearly unacceptable that people are not having their passports processed within the advertised time frame. The Passport Office website states three weeks but one of my constituents waited over four weeks, contacting the passport office daily and requesting to be upgraded to the express service. Sadly he missed his date of travel before he made contact with me.
“When I spoke to the Passport Office about his application they said they had no record of my constituent’s calls. Another constituent also requested an upgrade to the express service after her passport did not arrive on time; she was also told she would get a call back to access that service, but the call never came.
“If the Passport Office is experiencing delays in processing applications then it should say this on the website and if it’s not able to undertake the express service then it should be withdrawn.
“I’ve written to the Passport Office to find out why it’s experiencing such problems as demand must rise at this time every year and it seems extraordinary that it was not expected and planned for.
“My advice is that if you’re expecting to travel this year and need to get a passport or renew an old one then please get your application in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”
Graham’s constituent, Alice Atiola, from Beverley, who has recently experienced problems said, “I expect to be travelling to New Zealand in June. I applied for my passport to be amended to my married name in April and I still have not received it, despite requesting to be upgraded to the express service twice now. I can understand it is a very busy period but the way the system is can just make you feel very helpless at times. The staff on the advice line can’t really offer any advice or help on your application and obviously, as it is a very important document, it causes of a lot of stress. I’m very grateful for Graham’s help to get this sorted out so that others don’t have to be faced with such poor service.”