The Passport Office is today in the news accused of failing to cope with the annual summer surge of passport applications and renewals. Staff shortages have led to claims of severe delays in the issue of new and replacement British passports.
The Home Office responded that there are currently 465,000 applications to renew or acquire a first-time passport presently awaiting consideration. Paul Pugh, Chief Executive of the Passport Office, claimed that more than 99% of “straightforward applications” are being processed within four weeks.
Mike Jones of the Public and Commercial Services Union, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “Thousands of people complain that it has taken more than two months for them to get passports. That clearly is a backlog.”
Anecdotal evidence from clients whom we have recently naturalised as British citizens is that their passport applications are still at the Home Office long outside the stated processing times.
Perhaps the worst example is that one of our clients applied for her children’s British passports in mid-April. She was advised by phone that applications were taking up to 10 weeks instead of the usual 3. Her children’s passports have not yet been issued and the family are due to return to the UK in the next 2 weeks.
A further individual whose application has been at the Passport Agency for 5 weeks is also scheduled to travel for business purposes next week.
Today’s news is unlikely to calm the fears of those awaiting their British passports.
We advise any individual looking to renew or apply for their first British passport not to make any firm travel plans until their application has been processed. Those about to lodge an application to naturalise as a British citizen and who have imminent plans to travel on their new British passport should also take heed.
If you would like assistance with your British citizenship matters, including applying to naturalise as a British citizen, please contact us on 020 7038 3980, via firstname.lastname@example.org or through our online contact form.