Reply To: Applications whilst locked down

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Grantham Traveller

So far, the majority of posts on this page are about people applying for UK passports from abroad which makes it look as if that’s the most serious problem area though there aren’t enough posts yet to get a clear picture. The delays are presumably due in large part to the closure of places like Visa Application Centres abroad. My grandson’s passport application was made in January in Vietnam. My son was about to attend the standard interview at Hanoi’s VAC in early April but of course that was cancelled. The VAC is still closed even though Vietnam is moving away from lockdown. Result, my grandson still has no passport and this crucially prevented the family from being able to rush for a repatriation flight. An ETD could have been obtained but the whole frantic nightmare put them off and they decided to stay on. This is why I need mine renewed so we can get out to help them come home late in the year.

It’s interesting that we’ve heard nothing from UK applicants and renewal applicants on this site who have actually received their passports back during this period. I called up the Passport helpline on Thursday 7 May for an update on the general situation. I was told that standard renewals are being processed very slowly by a ‘skeleton staff’, though that emergency ones can be done in a couple of days. The call-centre person, who was clearly working from home, said she was sure I’d get mine ‘by August’ and assured me mine would be in a queue, not siting in a box somewhere. Since I’m not in a hurry that doesn’t matter. However, I note that although mine was received at Peterborough on 29 April it has not been checked or processed in any way. She told me she wouldn’t expect any progress for 2-3 weeks.

What I’d also like to know is if, say by September the passport still hasn’t come whether I can at that time ring up and book a fast track appointment (assuming that service has been restored by then) by converting the application to that. I intend to find this out next week.