Travellers have had to cancel their holidays after waiting as long as four months for their passport applications to be processed. Some travellers have reportedly had to wait as long as 143 days, putting a spanner in future holiday plans. The Passport Office’s face-to-face interviews have been suspended along with its premium fast-track service due to social distancing issues as it struggles to get its 2,000 staff to return to work, according to the Daily Telegraph.
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They said they are continuing to increase their work capacity with a phased return of more staff.
They have also suggested they will use other buildings so they can maintain social distancing.
Her Majesty’s Passport Office has not revealed the time it will take to process an application but has revealed it is “taking longer than usual” due to lockdown.
They have previously urged people not to apply unless they are travelling before September or have a compassionate reason.
Her Majesty’s Passport Office has been responding to tweets from disgruntled citizens on Twitter.
“Standard applications do not currently have a guaranteed service standard, and we are unable to confirm how long applications will take at this current time,” they replied to one user.
Another reply added: “To ensure social distancing measures can be applied in our offices we are not currently holding passport interviews.
“Your application will therefore be put on hold.
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“We will be in touch to arrange your interview when this service resumes.”
According to website Passport Waiting Time, which uses crowd-sourcing data, a first adult passport waiting time is averaging 45 days.
A first child’s passport is averaging 33 days, a child’s renewal is taking around 2 days and an adult’s renewal is taking 23 days.
The website’s creator Andy Anderson said some applications were taking days while others had to wait months.
One such person who has waited over 143 days is Paul Hanley who is waiting for his child’s passport.
Another person who has experienced massive delays is Matthew Hall, a transport clerk based in Dudley.
He has been waiting 14 days for a first passport to arrive which he applied for on February 28.
He is due to head to Majorca with his partner and baby in August.
He told the Telegraph: “It’s beyond frustrating and they could at least keep people in the know.
“I’m set to lose over £3,000, and I’m a key worker who could seriously do with a holiday.”
Social media users have also taken to Twitter to express their concerns.
One user said: “We are waiting for a child’s passport renewal.
“I don’t understand how there can be a concentrated effort to open pubs, yet the passport office is an absolute chaos.
“I have written to my MP to investigate this now. It means out of four children, one is left behind.”
One person tweeted HMPO saying, “The passport time is a lot longer than you guys are advertising because my passport renewal is nearly three months and I’m still waiting.”
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