Summer is a time to be happy, bask in the sunshine and enjoy time away from school/work/university; what better way to do that than to go on holiday? Thousands of students jet off each summer to get away from the unpredictable English weather, get drunk, sunbathe, get drunk again then maybe get drunk some more. This year, however, has seen a huge increase in passport delays and many are worried that they won’t get their passports in time for booked holidays.
Home Secretary Theresa May has apologised for the delays and has stated that they’re doing all they can to speed up the process. She told the BBC that the passport office was dealing with the “highest demand for passports for 12 years”. She said the annual surge in demand in summer had started much earlier than usual.
Currently, there are around 493,289 outstanding passport applications (compared to 146,939 this time last year) and around 34,635 people are facing delays due to the backlog. There is a small ray of sunshine though (possibly the only ray of sunshine you worried individuals will be getting this summer, sorry) – the government has promised to “fast-track” delayed applications free of charge for those in urgent need because of imminent travel plans. To qualify, you must have booked to travel in the next seven days, and you will need to provide proof of your travel plans.
Many people have taken to social networks to express their concern; @KyleMurdoch93 tweeted “Leave for Ibiza Friday morning and kings passport still hasn’t arrived! Sent away f*****g ages ago! Shambles o a system!!” @Lwalsh21 also tweeted “Go away Thursday an my passport still isn’t here after ringing them all the time, cheers you bunch of useless tw*ts #gutted”.
I think the most frustrating thing about being in that situation is the fact that there’s very little you can do about it; it’s down to the government to sort this problem out. Holidays aren’t cheap and in today’s financial climate it’s hard to accept the fact you may have paid for a holiday and end up not being able to go.
For anyone that’s supposed to be jetting off soon and still waiting for your passport, the best thing to do is to contact the passport office and request a fast-track upgrade (as explained earlier this is only available if you’re due to travel within the next 7 days). Otherwise, keep your fingers/toes/every limb possible crossed. If all else fails then don’t worry, I’ll have a drink or 5 for you on my holiday next month – I’m nice like that.
More details about upgrading your application can be found on the Home Office website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/additional-measures-to-meet-high-passport-demand