How are applications processed?

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    Are there any examiners on this forum, or anybody actually, who can enlighten the rest of us as to how applications are actually assigned to be dealt with?? Do they use a computer system? Once documents are received at an office are they dished out in date order? Are there teams assigned to different passport types? I’m just reeeeeeeally trying to understand the seemingly random method of processing.


    Me too, there are lots of people putting their timelines on and being approved really quickly and then others are so slow. First adult application submitted 25th April and documents received 6th May. I was feeling quite positive but since then nothing, a month since the last update. Starting to think has it somehow been overlooked.


    I’m not an examiner but from publicly available documents it appears there are two routes applications can take

    Digital route – this is by far the quickest – all the checks etc they do can be completed entirely digitally – you’ll know if you’re on this route if your application goes from Docs received to Approved – there will be no processing update, in fact the absence of a processing update is a good thing!

    Manual route – if for some reason the application can’t be completed entirely digitally then it drops into the manual processing route – your update will go from docs received to processing – it’s then anyone’s guess how long it will take depending on what the issues are.

    So I would say the longer your application remains on the ‘docs received’ stage the better as it shows you’re still on the digital route.

    Anything can drop an application to the manual route – and apparently even requesting a call back about the application is enough – so unless it’s really urgent don’t contact them unless you really have to.


    Good question. I have been lurking on various forums/facebook pages for a couple of weeks to try to fathom what processing means. Does it definitely mean there’s an issue or just sat on someone’s desk waiting to be looked at physically. I’ve had 3 renewals go through in 3 weeks each from application (29/04,03/5,12/5) at post office digital check and send to being delivered. All went straight from docs received then to approved so all processed digitally. I applied for my son’s passport 19/04 via post office digital check and send…. been processing since 08/05. I’ve been told no issue so far, nothing outstanding; however, once it is looked at by an examiner, they may ask for more info. I was told the 10 weeks is from docs rcvd which conflicts to what others have been told by HMPO on screenshots posted.


    Does it definitely mean there’s an issue or just sat on someone’s desk waiting to be looked at physically

    As far as I understand it this doesn’t mean there is an issue as such it simply means that one or some the digital checks didn’t complete satisfactorily or couldn’t be completed – after all computers are yes or no – it may be as simple as someone just confirming something and that’s it or they may need more info.

    Of course what checks the HMPO do are secret (for crime prevention) so it’s really hard to tell what’s happened but if you are confident all the docs are OK I would imagine it’s just routine.


    Thank you Djbane, it was a previous post of yours that explained the digital and manual route.
    At the post office I provided my passport number (since had a new one applying 10days after) and sons full birth certificate but when I tracked, there is a link for ‘what you need to send’ and this also asks for mine or dads birth certificate… not been asked for this and webchat just say nothing outstanding, waiting for examiner and they may ask for more info. I’ve ordered my full birth certificate just incase but won’t come till 15/6. Thanks again.


    If you are applying for a replacement after losing your passport I believe you are automatically put in the manual queue.

    I will have been waiting 12 weeks on Friday and still processing.

    Every other person I have spoken to applying for a replacement has a similar timeline.

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