UK government promises automatic passport extensions for expats

Published:  12 Jun at 6 PM
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After news of the crisis in UK passport processing went viral across the expat world, Home Secretary Theresa May was forced to announce automatic extensions for those affected.

Hundreds of thousands of expats have been hard hit by the gross backlog pf over 500,000 applications for passport renewals, new passports for family members and replacements for lost or damaged passports. Many have been waiting for up to three months, and have been unable to renew visas, confirm their identity to local officials or take urgent business and personal trips outside their country of residence.

Social media and local expat forums bristled with complaints and comments, British charity Shelter Abroad invited expats to sign a petition to end the passport chaos and trade unions were threatening to strike. Finally seeing the light, Home Secretary Theresa May this afternoon told the House of Commons that all expats who have applied for passport renewals will be given automatic one-year extensions to allow the backlog to be cleared.

In addition, children of expats will be issued with emergency travel documents where necessary, and applications by holidaymakers at risk of losing their holidays will be fast-tracked at no extra charge. May’s announcement confirms accusations about the Home Office’s failure to prepare adequately for dealing with expat passports in addition to UK applications.

The problem began when the Home Office changed the rules for expat passport applications. The new rules withdrew the seven overseas Foreign Office regional passport application centres and replaced them with the Home Office as the only department with responsibility for issuing expat renewals.

According to May, 250 additional staff have been transferred to help clear the backlog, and 200 additional examiners will check passports for validity. The Passport Office’s call centre will be manned by a further 650 extra staff, operations will continue seven days a week, and two reviews will be conducted into the scandal.
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Comments » There are 3 comments

Pam wrote 5 years ago:

Anyone know how to ensure the "automatic" renewal happens, or where to find out? I can't find anything concrete, & since the goal-posts were recently moved on passport processing times I now need this automatic service.

Ken Booth wrote 5 years ago:

WHAT blooody good is this: "all expats who have applied for passport renewals will be given automatic one-year extensions to allow the backlog to be cleared." If you HAVE APPLIED, your passport is in their hands not yours. 1. You can't go to local consulate- you don't have p/p in hand. 2. If p/p office in uk just gonna automatically extend instead of renew what blooody advantage in expediancy is that gonna produce-may as well simply process as normal. TOTAL nonsense and why isn't this examined and stated as useless in reporting this crisis by the media????

Sue wrote 5 years ago:

Is there yet an answer to this problem of automatic extensions? I have begged and pleaded by email for a written confirmation (other than the Daily Telegraph report) The only help I have been offered is to go to Paris in person for a normal extension. Out-of -the - question it is 600 miles round trip. When the Police stopped me the other day to check my documents I was told that an out of date passport in France is not sufficient proof of identity. I am not a french citizen therefore no carte sejour, Does that now make me an illegal?

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