Grantham Traveller

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #2996
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    Many months ago I posted about my grandson’s suspended first-time passport application from Vietnam. He was born in Hanoi in December 2019. The application was made by my son in January. Both parents are 100% British born but work in Vietnam. The application was suspended by the PO in March 2020 by cancelling the online interview. In late June my son wrote to our local MP about the delay and total silence. He also wrote to ask for his son’s birth certificate to be returned. The birth certificate was returned but with no further information. The interview was then suddenly arranged for 22 September and conducted online from a Passport Officer’s home address (the PO having finally got their acts together with the software). The passport was printed on 24 September and a day or two later the MP wrote to my son to say that had happened – the PO told my son nothing. By using Twitter messaging I managed to get the DHL tracking number out of the PO which had also not been supplied to my son. The passport arrived at Hanoi on 1 October and was collected by my son today (2 October). We have no idea whether the MP’s intervention made all the difference, but it is interesting the PO kept him up to speed but not us.

    Application time: 8.5 MONTHS

    Delay time: 7 MONTHS

    The passport is a blue Brexit one, and of course has a picture of a one-month-old child in a passport for a ten-month-old.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1134
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    I just found this website. It details the reopening of certain Visa Application Centres in the UK and overseas. The next key date seems to be 22 June. This will be of interest especially go people who have applied for UK passports overseas and whose applications were suspended in March (like for example my baby grandson in Vietnanm, whose application has been on ice since March along with all his identity documents stuck in Durham):

    https://www.withersworldwide.com/en-gb/insight/the-phased-re-opening-of-uk-visa-application-centres-what-you-need-to-know

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1115
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    To those asking about the new passports, I can say only this: mine is the new blue one. Its internal design is significantly different from the red one. The old title page has been replaced with a new type bearing the holder’s photograph, the number and a 50p-shaped 19-20mm wide hexagonal laminated window that shows your picture on page 3 behind (see below). At the top is a hexagonal outline with the title ‘Series 3’ in it. Page 2, the back of the title page, has all your details on it with main photograph and machine-readable strip as before. The main photograph is now 34 by 43 mm. In the old red passports it was 32 x 40 mm.

    The title page with page 2 is much thicker and more rigid than in the old red passport (even more so than the cover). They’re covered with heavy laminate and on p. 2 this is embossed with the large letters UK and various parallel elliptical lines, as well as other features designed to resist forgery or alteration. There is also a tiny panel with your photograph once again and your birthdate printed over this little picture. This laminate bothers me. It’s so firm I can see it beginning to lift with age or if the edge of the page gets damaged. Keep an eye on that.

    Page 3 is for official observations as before and is normal paper. It features a smaller colour version of your photograph in much better resolution than in the old ones, and this is the page that you physically sign on receipt (your signature used to appear on p. 2).

    So I find it hard to believe the Passport Office will be issuing such different types side by side. Surely they’ll be only the new ones? The new type is clearly far more secure, or is intended to be.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1107
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    My research about my son and his children in Vietnam threw up this interesting revelation.

    If you are abroad and your UK passport has expired or is about to do so and you are freaking out about the lack of any progress here, this may help – but I think only if you still have your expired or about to expire passport. It seems some countries have agreed with the UK to accept such passports up to the end of 2021 as evidence for renewing things like work permits and visas.

    This is the information on the Foreign Office’s website for people in Vietnam:

    Recognition of extended expiry of passports
    The British Government has agreed with the Vietnamese Immigration Department that any passport held by a British national which has an expiry date of 1 January 2020 onwards, or has less than 6 months validity, will now be recognised as expiring on 31 December 2021 when submitted for the purpose of renewing a visa or residence permit.

    This is because British nationals in Vietnam are unable to renew their passports at this time due to the closure of the UK visa application centres due to COVID-19 and the limited processing of passport applications in the UK. The extended expiry date will temporarily enable British nationals with an expiring UK passport to apply for a visa or residence permit renewal in Vietnam without having to apply for a new passport.

    https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam/entry-requirements

    I’d suggest you check the pages for the country you’re in and see if a similar deal has been struck. This might mean you can hold back from applying until things have returned to normal. If that ever happens

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1105
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    Although my passport story is over now and I have mine I’ve looked back at this forum over the last couple of days.

    During the course of my application saga I telephoned the Passport Office Advice Line about six times. The first four calls were about my initial renewal application and included at least three calls before I sent it off, and one after. This involved three passport officers, one of whom I spoke to twice.

    It’s worth my emphasizing here that I got a different story from each of the three officers about whether to apply and how long it would take. One for example was very strident about me not sending it off, insisting that I should wait for the fast track service to resume. Another said the smart move would be to join the queue before it was swamped by pent-up demand in the summer. The last two calls were about the non-receipt of any tracking information from TNT about the delivery of the new passport, repeated in a Passport Office reply to a tweet. While some of what these two officers said, and also the one who tweeted me, was the same they also contradicted each other in key detail.

    I was left unconvinced that those on the advice line or Twitter really know what is going on at all. I suspect they work in different passport offices, but at the time seemed to be working from home, and based their comments on conditions in their own passport offices or what they believe to be the conditions. There is zero consistency.

    In that sense, this all illustrates a fairly chaotic communications set-up which is hit and miss. I don’t think anyone involved was trying to mislead me – but clearly some of them believe things that just aren’t true.

    I will now post about people abroad with expired passports.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1076
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    Hello Rothbard. Pleased to be of help. Of course it’s ridiculous that this sort of information isn’t automatically available, is it not? Why on Earth doesn’t the Passport Office tell you how to track the delivery when they tell you they’ve sent it? Why did TNT not send me tracking information? Why did two Passport Office members of staff insist that the courier would automatically send tracking information when that never happened? The list is endless …

    Delighted you now know your delivery information. Fingers crossed!!

    Yes: I did get the new blue one with its rather differently displayed information: larger b&w photo and a small colour one on the facing page, as well as sort of title page with the photo on that too.

    in reply to: Peterborough #1074
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    Further to my post above, my passport has now arrived.

    Application made: 28 April
    Old passport received at Peterborough: 29 April
    Application being processed: 12 May
    Application approved: 3 June
    Passport printed and sent: 4 June
    Passport received: 4.50 pm, 8 June (note that this is a Monday – a weekend slowed the delivery process)

    Note also that although the PO and TNT had my email address and mobile number, I never received any tracking information in either an email or a text, despite the PO Advice Line insisting that I would do so. You may well need to contact TNT direct on delivery.hmpo@fedex.com to get the crucial consignment number, without which you’ll get nowhere. Tell them your postcode and Passport Application Number.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1073
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    OK. As promised: details of delivery.

    1. Despite being told by TWO Passport Office members of staff on their Advice Line this weekend (6/7 June) that I would ‘definitely’ receive a text and/or email from the courier to confirm tracking details, I received nothing after the passport left Peterborough’s PO.

    2. Thanks to a very helpful person at TNT who responded to my query on Friday when she told me the passport had not yet appeared on their system, she emailed me this morning (Monday 8 June) to tell me the passport had now appeared on the system and was out for delivery today. She provided me with a link that showed the TNT consignment number which is completely different from the Passport Application Number. It would appear you won’t get anywhere tracking it without the consignment number. You can try with the PAN but don’t include any letters.

    The email address to contact TNT is delivery.hmpo@fedex.com (yes, TNT is part of Fedex)

    The tracking page is delivery.tnt.com/tracking

    3. The envelope with the passport showed only the TNT tracking number, not the PAN. On the back someone had written in biro my mobile number which shows that the PO and TNT had it, but I never received any texts from either.

    4. The passport was delivered by a courier driving a small van, not a big TNT van. I assume the passports are delivered in batches by drivers only delivering passports. They do not seem to deliver passports on Saturday or Sunday.

    5. The tracking showed that the passport was collected late in the evening on the date it was printed (Thursday 5 June) and was entered into TNT’s system the next day, even though that did not show up until this morning.

    Summary of my timeline: application 28 April, old passport received 29 April, being processed 12 May, approved 4 June, printed 5 June and sent (Thursday), received 4.50 pm Monday 8 June. Five weeks and six days.

    I have found this to be a monumentally stressful experience. I cannot imagine how much more frustrating it is for anyone else on this forum still stuck in limbo. You have my sympathy – truly. Now I am going to go and enjoy not having to worry about this again for 9 1/2 years.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1055
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    An addendum to the previous post. This afternoon (Saturday 6 June) I did get the callback from the Passport Office (over 24 hours after I left my number). I decided to have the same conversation with the operator and see what he said. The story – needless to say – was a little different, though much was the same:

    1. This time I was told the courier companies are collecting every day (instead of only a couple of times a week as I was told earlier today) but a passport probably won’t be collected until the day after the day on which the ‘printed and sent’ email went out. It could be TNT or DX, he confirmed.

    2. He said that the courier company has to enter the passport on its system and send out tracking information by text and/or email to the passport holder, but their systems may not update over a weekend until Monday. He said tracking information should always be sent out by the courier company.

    3. He added that the courier companies are so busy and sometimes understaffed that this may result in a delay to delivery, also because there is at present high demand for passports.

    So, there you go – two conversations with two Passport Office agents asked the same questions and some differences and similarities in the stories. He suggested that if I had heard nothing by Wednesday next week to call in again.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1054
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    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.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1047
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    Thank you lewlewduckie. That’s very useful to know about the lack of tracking, and not needing the signature – I had a feeling that must be the case or else the email from the PO about having printed and sent the passport would provide the relevant guidance for tracking.

    The delivery details seem to vary. I checked with my neighbour. He renewed his passport in February, before lockdown. His passport was delivered by TNT three days after the ‘printed and sent’ email from the PO. No tracking either, but he had to sign for it – probably because it was the first time he’d had a passport sent to that address (he only moved in late last year).

    One question: when your passport arrived, did it have a separate TNT consignment number on the envelope? Or just the Passport Application Number starting PEX?

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1043
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    Thanks hottoast. The plot thickens. I have had no text from TNT but then I don’t recall ever giving the Passport Office my mobile number (where I live there’s no signal in the house so I don’t usually bother with it), so TNT wouldn’t have it anyway to send me a tracking number or link. I certainly haven’t had any texts from the Passport Office updating me on the passport; I’ve only had their emails which included the latest saying it was printed and sent on 4 June – this added no information about tracking delivery or anything.

    Did you pay for expedited delivery? That might explain it. It’s all very odd.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1040
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    Thanks hottoast but, yes, I put a space into my postcode along with my Passport Application Number. All I get on the TNT site is an error message, saying ‘Error. We could not find what you were looking for’.

    I even emailed TNT and they said they had no record of anything at my postcode or under my PAN number. Which TNT link did you use for tracking? Did you just enter your postcode and the Passport Application Number?

    I don’t know whether to panic or not; this has been stressful enough already. I thought it was all over, but instead I’m now freaking out. I also contacted the Passport Office to ask about tracking. I was asked to send a Twitter direct message which I did, but have had no reply. I tried telephoning but it diverted to their callback service, and no one has called back either.

    in reply to: Applications whilst locked down #1025
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    Does anyone know if passports that have been printed and sent can be tracked through a courier? This information isn’t apparent anywhere, including the Passport Office email that told me my new passport is on its way.

    I’ve found some references to TNT being involved but my application number (PAN) doesn’t work on their tracking site. I’m not concerned – I’d just like to know which day it’s going to come, and whether I need to be around to receive it.

    Has anyone else managed to track their delivery?

    in reply to: Peterborough #1016
    Grantham Traveller
    Participant

    My standard renewal application to Peterborough is now completed:

    Application made: 28 April
    Old passport received at Peterborough: 29 April
    Application being processed: 12 May
    Application approved: 3 June
    Passport printed and sent: 4 June

    Now awaiting delivery within the next few days

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)