Some minor delays are now turning into a huge problem in the processing of UK passports in the UK. This has been in the news in the UK recently and is now affecting many British expats in Thailand. British authorities are blaming a rush on travel for the summer season and new Brexit-related problems for British travelers to EU countries.
The Thaiger has been contacted several times over the past few days by disgruntled British citizens whose stay in the Kingdom is threatened by delays, lost paperwork and egregious mistakes.
One of the expats says he tried to renew his daughter’s UK passport and said it would take 10-11 weeks but it’s already been 5 months and “they have no idea where are the documents”.
More than 20 other British citizens are now returning to or in the UK, trying to sort through their passports as they found it impossible to do anything via email or the British Embassy in Thailand.
Barry, an expat from Phuket, has been in contact with The Thaiger for 3 months.
“They’ve been useless, it’s so frustrating. I just got fed up after banging my head against bureaucracy for 3 months and booked a flight to fix it myself. Why do we have all these embassies if they can’t do anything? »
Another British couple, currently living in Australia, have been told they will likely have to cancel their wedding in the UK due to continuing delays at the passport office. They should also allow 13 weeks for their baby’s UK passport to arrive.
Problems and delays are now a global problem for thousands of UK citizens who need their passports sorted. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with residents now wanting to travel during the summer holidays, but can’t.
Already, thousands of families are facing delayed or canceled summer vacations in the northern hemisphere. British MPs, contacted by unhappy voters, describe the situation as an “absolute shambles”.
Meanwhile, the UK Home Office is urging travelers to allow 10 weeks for passport processing, but acknowledges that even the published deadline of 10 weeks is ‘frequently breached’. Some candidates say they wait up to 5 months.
These travelers complain that no one responds to so-called helplines, unanswered emails. Even people who use the high-priced “fast track” service have problems making appointments.
The Home Office says more than 5million people have applied for passports as the UK emerges from restrictions and lockdowns and the weather improves.
Adding to the pressure, the EU is introducing post-Brexit rules that require UK passports to have at least 3 months of validity remaining, a change that surprised many UK citizens who were unaware of the change until that they want to travel again.
The delays on the UK side have unexpected fallout for expats around the world who need their passports for visa renewal in Thailand. At this stage, Thai officials show little understanding of the problems on the UK side of the paperwork nightmare and some expats have been forced to return to the UK to try to resolve their passport issues, at a time when flight prices are skyrocketing due to rising fuel prices and inflation.
The UK Home Office acknowledges that up to 5 million people have faced passport delays.
“We urge people who need a new passport to apply for one as soon as possible. The vast majority of all passport applications are processed within 10 weeks. »
THE SOURCE: The Guardian