Dear Ms. Abi Tierney
We crowd source passport processing times and collect applicant feedback via our website. Our average shows that the majority of passport applicants are receiving their passports within the 10 week timeframe that you quote on the HMPO website.
However, many applicants have waited well over the 10 week guideline which has caused them to miss holidays, experience undue stress and financial loss. Whilst this is a small percentage of applicants it does equate to a vast number of people given the recent surge in demand for passports.
Please could you kindly provide answers to the following questions that have been submitted by our website users:
1. Why are you not working through the back log in date order? Why are passports submitted in May being issued but ones submitted in March and April still waiting for their passport?
2. Is it true new applications are being dealt with ahead of applications in the backlog?
3. Why do lost/stolen passport applications take so much longer than a standard application?
4. Somebody I know has received four out of four passports for their family, within three weeks. We have been waiting 9 weeks for one. How can there be such an inconsistency?
5. I have just tried to speak with somebody from the passport office and couldn’t hear what they were saying due to dogs barking in the background. Why aren’t workers now all back in the office?
6. Why is there not a dedicated line for passport applications longer than 10 weeks?
7. I have been told conflicting information from different call agents, do they not all receive the same training?
8. Why are the staff working from home when they don’t have the correct equipment such as the ability to transfer calls?
9. Why is the Webchat never available? Given the backlog, why do you not have staff that can work outside of your normal office hours to help reduce the backlog?
Different Passport Offices
10. Why is it taking much longer at some processing centres than others?
11. I have 3 children and submitted their passports at the same time and each passport went to a different office. Would it not be better practice if they all went to the same office and processed at the same time?
12. Is there a process in place if you urgently need your supporting documents back before the application has been processed?
13. Several people report delays with the return of “support documentation”. This is an issue for many people when such documentation is a foreign passport needed to travel to the country issuing it, or a visa in the old passport needed to travel to the country issuing the visa or legally remain in that country. Given the importance of these supporting documents why are they not returned sooner?
14. Would it be possible to submit a certified copy of the support documentation instead of the originals? This would help alleviate the issue of additional passports being sent around in the post.
Upgrades/1 Week Fast Track
15. There are never any available appointments. I understand these are unprecedented times but why haven’t you extended opening hours to create more appointment availability?
16. Why are those applications made over 10 weeks ago not given an option to expedite without having to provide flight details?
17. Why does the upgrade team not have a designated telephone number or email that updates you?
18. Can we please have some clarity about what is happening once the “documents received” stage has been confirmed. For example how do we know if an examiner is looking at the application? How many days are there between “documents received” and “application approved/printed” assuming there are no errors or additional documents needed?
19. How and why has my application regressed from saying “in progress” back to “documents received”? Why can we not obtain more accurate information on the progress of our applications in this day and age?
20. Do you think HMPO should refund the fee if it takes more than 10 weeks or refund any out of pocket expenses?
21. The delays happen from time to time. What plans do HMPO have for next 5 years to avoid such delays again. Are you looking at newer technologies that may speed up the process and make the process more automated?
22. What measures are in place to resolve the backlog of passport applications?
23. When does HMPO expect the demand to decrease?
24. Can you confirm the time difference in backlog between paper applications and online applications and why is it not advertised that paper applications take longer?
25. What would you like to say to people that have waited over 10 weeks and have missed holidays and lost money due to the delays?
It would be very much appreciated if you could provide responses to the above questions.
Andy Anderson | Passport Waiting Time
24a Commercial Road, Poole, Dorset, BH14 0JR