My experience – stolen passport

Home Forums General Passport Application Discussion My experience – stolen passport

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • Author
  • #19508

    I wanted to share my experience with others, as this site has been so useful. There’s a summary below with more detail following.

    Summary of advice for turning up at a passport office:
    1. You must be travelling within the next 48 hours – no exceptions unless it’s a Sunday/bank holiday and then you can go on the Friday
    2. You must have proof of pre-booked travel before you put in your passport application
    3. You must have had your application in for at least 6 weeks – unless you have a severely ill close relative, or in my case, that my passport was stolen
    4. You must provide proof of everything you tell them about your mitigating circumstances and travel bookings
    5. I would recommend going 48 hours before your travel as there is a risk that you may not be able to get your passport printed the same day. Doing this gives you one extra day to come back and collect it if necessary
    6. Come prepared for a long day standing in a queue with battery packs, water, food, layers of clothing, sun glasses, hats, something to sit on, etc.

    Detail below of my case:

    I had a valid passport (did my renewal at Christmas 2021 and end to end it took three working days from me submitting my application to getting the passport delivered to my home) but unfortunately it was stolen at the beginning of July.

    I made a new application as soon as my passport was stolen but was travelling three weeks later on a holiday I had booked in November 2021. There were no fast track applications available so I had to apply via the standard route. All the phone calls I made gave me the same advice – I would have to wait at least six weeks before they would upgrading me to the fast track service.

    Some of the staff on the phone lines (particularly the initial ones you speak to before they transfer you to someone else) were rude or unhelpful – I think these are all the ones working for a private company and are basically there to fob you off. On the occasions where I was lucky enough to convince someone to put me through to HMPO staff who knew what they were talking about, the staff were much more understanding and helpful, but they didn’t know how to advise me on a stolen passport.

    After reading the information on here, I decided to give it one last shot and went to my nearest passport office (Liverpool) on the Wednesday before my Friday travel plans. I arrived at 0615 and queued outside with other people. The staff managing the queue were very helpful but also keen to manage people’s expectations and were fairly no-nonsense. We were told that they would only see people who were travelling within 48 hours AND had had an application in >6 weeks.

    The staff implemented a triage system in the queue, dividing us into people travelling that day (day 0), day 1, and day 2. A lot of people were sent away at this point. They then came and spoke to us about our situations. A lot more people were turned away at this point too as they were very strict about the 6 week rule. They told us a story of how a mother of the bride had come the week before after forgetting to renew her passport for a wedding booked abroad last year – but because it was less than six weeks since she had applied, they would not upgrade her.

    There were some devastated people there but they would not budge on this. Basically if someone has forgotten to apply early enough, even if there are kids in tears, they will not fast track you. The only reason they said they would accept was a very close family member who was severely ill/dying – and for this they wanted proof. There was a lady in tears explaining she had an ill family memeber but they would not let her in as she didn’t have proof.

    Although I could see all this going on ahead of me I stayed in the queue and was told that because my passport was stolen, a manager would need to decide whether they could waive the 6 week rule. They wanted to see the police report, which thankfully I had with me.

    All in all, I waited until about 1330 outside the building until I got to the front. At this point they checked the PEX number and application date, and my documents (proof of pre-booked travel and police report). There was a discussion between staff at this point with people going in and out to check things but after a few minutes I was allowed in.

    I then had to wait again for about half an hour to see an advisor, who checked all my documents and again had to check whether I was entitled to be upgraded due to the theft of my passport. Thankfully they did agree to process my application and I paid the upgrade fee of £101.

    My application was being held in Peterborough but they liaised with that office to process it. The passports take up to four hours to print due to all the security features, so it was not certain I would get my passport that day. I spent the rest of the day enjoying Liverpool.

    About an hour later I got the text message to say my passport had been approved, and then about 3-4 hours later a message to say it was ready for collection. I returned to the office and collected it at about 1700, so I was close to having to return the next day to collect it.

    If you are going to try this, make sure you come prepared. Bring plenty of food, water, battery packs, etc. Make friends with people in the queue and you can hold your spaces for each other for when you need to go to the toilet, etc. Wear sensible clothing and bring layers, including sun glasses, protection, etc. We had lots of different weather conditions while I was there and some people were not prepared for the weather and were very uncomfortable. Also consider brining something to sit on unless you are prepared to stand in one spot for most of the day.

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.