My Experience / Upgrade Request

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    Hi Everyone,

    Thought i’d share my experience as this forum has been a great help and relief through this nightmare process.

    I submitted an application for a replacement for a damaged passport after my dog got a hold of my existing one which had 3 years validity remaining. I sent the online application on the 16th of June and used my own phone to take a photo which the online system approved as being highly likely to be accepted.
    Posted my damaged passport the the Bootle office the same day using next day delivery which was received the following day (using royal mail tracking). However HMPO did not acknowledge the receipt until 29/6 which i received the email and SMS to confirm.

    Heard nothing until 29/7 when I received another of the same sms confirming they had received my old passport. There was no update to the online tracker.

    As I’m due to travel to France on 12/8 I called the ‘advice line’ on 1/8 to request an upgrade after having read that this is possible on this forum.

    Surprisingly there was no wait time however the agent I spoke to simply told me that it was still in the queue and had yet to be seen by an examiner. They did tell me that it had been sent to the Glasgow office on 29/7 for the application to be checked (Presuming this is why i received the 2nd sms) which was the only useful piece of information provided as at least I knew where it was being processed, although frustrating that it seemed to have just sat in limbo for over 1 month.

    I told her that I was travelling within the next 2 weeks (which is why I selected this option) and needed to request an upgrade. I was flat out refused this option and told i’d need to wait and upgrading is not an option. I explained this contradicts other information I have read and was again shot down and told that the only way they can process it faster is for emergencies and not ‘just for a holiday’ and that I should have applied sooner.
    I explained again that it was a damaged passport with 3 years remaining, which was sent the day the damage occurred and there was no way to apply sooner but was again told no upgrades.
    I asked to raise a complaint and was told i’d need to do this online and someone would contact me back within 3 days.

    I submitted the complaint on 1/8 and sure enough someone emailed back the next day to confirm that they can at their discretion offer an upgrade but i’d need to call the advice line to request this.
    Tried to call and was cut off.

    I took a chance of just emailing the Glasgow upgrade team with my application details and confirmation of travel and received a response back to confirm receipt of the request and that they work to travel dates and would be in touch as soon as possible.

    Resigned myself to just waiting and seeing if anything came back and worst case scenario travel to the passport office 48 hours before travel, which would involve having to request time off work.

    2 days later I received a call earlier this afternoon (3/8) from a lovely women at the Glasgow office (from a no caller ID) confirming they can upgrade my application and have the passport sent out the following day for delivery on Friday. The upgrade fee was around £101 and I requested next day special delivery which was an extra £7.95.

    Obviously i’m delighted that it seems things appear to be resolved, although conscious of celebrating too early and will wait until I have received the passport.

    With the exception of the Glasgow office the whole process has been a complete shambles. It’s ridiculous some people are receiving their passport back within a matter of days after paying the standard £77 and others are waiting months on end with no information.

    So despite being £109 lighter after the upgrade fee, I can at least now look forward to a trip knowing i’m not going to lose out on a significantly higher sum due to the incompetence of hmpo.

    Thanks to everyone who has posted, these forums really helped provide some reassurance during this 🙂

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