Reply To: Applications whilst locked down

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Grantham Traveller

OK – some delivery information. I managed to get through to the Passport Office Advice line today (Saturday 6 June) on 0300 222 0000. I asked some very specific questions about delivery and tracking. As we all know this information is never wholly reliable, but this is what I was told by the Passport Office chap who answered my call:

1. He said: the Passport Office is using TNT for delivery but is also still using DX to finish off the remaining part of DX’s contract (TNT started taking over in January 2020).

2. He said:the courier companies have significantly reduced the number of days they collect passports from the individual passport offices. This used to be done 6 days a week, but now it’s only about 2. This means that your nice new passport (and perhaps mine) is still at the passport office in a bag awaiting courier collection, despite the email being sent out to you that says it’s been printed and sent. Clearly we have no idea when those reduced days are. If they’re Monday and Wednesday – for instance – then your passport might be ready on Thursday but not collected until the Monday.

3. He said: once the courier company collects the passports they are entered into the courier’s system along with contact details for each passport holder. This should result in an email and/or text to be sent to you with tracking information and date of delivery. Obviously, if couriers are making collections with reduced frequency from the passport offices then a few days may elapse before you even get the tracking information.

4. He said: if your letterbox is in the front door of an individual home (i.e. NOT a shared front door) then a signature is not normally a requirement – the courier will push the passport through into your house. If your letterbox is in a metal box OUTSIDE then they will need to get someone to come to the door to receive the passport.

5. I told the operator that not everyone seems to have received tracking information. He said it goes into spam sometimes, but that the couriers always send out tracking information. Whether that’s true remains to be seen. All I can say is that I’ve heard nothing so far in terms of tracking since the ‘printed and sent’ email on 4 June.

6. This is my speculation but it would seem the critical factor is when the courier collects the passports from the passport office. Since the courier is allowed 2-3 days to deliver once it has your passport, this could in theory mean an overall period of up to 6 days or so before your passport is actually delivered, despite some people apparently receiving theirs within 1-2 days.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the amount of money I’d pay and the distance I’d drive to end this here and now is increasing exponentially by the day. The frustrated impotent exasperation is becoming all-consuming.

When (if!) my passport finally arrives I will give full details here of exactly what did and didn’t happen with regard to tracking information, what courier was involved and how the passport was delivered, and precisely how long it took to get here after supposedly being sent.

As for the advice line, that’s become much busier. If you call up now you’ll probably be held in the queue. After 70 seconds you’ll be offered the callback service or you can continue to hold. This offer repeats every 35 seconds. Shortly after 3 minutes of waiting you are taken to the callback service anyway – I did that yesterday but nobody ever called me back. It took me several goes of re-dialling to speak to a person.