British expatriates looking to renew their passports can avoid getting caught up in the current passport chaos by applying for a 12-month extension at no extra cost.
Rather than applying for the standard 10-year passport, and face considerable delays, overseas British passport applicants are advised to apply for a one-year extension through their local British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission for free.
The British Passport office also advise that if you’re the parent or guardian of a child living overseas that needs to travel urgently, you can apply for an emergency travel document for your child instead of a new or renewed passport.
Passport applications in the UK have been delayed by a backlog of 500,000 applications, caused by a 12-year high in passport applications.
"Her Majesty's Passport Office took over the processing of all passport applications from British Nationals across the globe in March 2014,” a HM Passport Office spokesperson said in a statement to Arabian Business last week.
Overseas applications face an even longer delay and they are now subject to further security checks “to align with our processes for domestic applications”.
“We will not issue a passport until all checks have been satisfactorily completed,” the spokesperson said.
The Passport Agency is currently dealing with about 465,000 renewals and first-time passport requests, and it is sending out around 150,000 passports a week. With passport applications reaching a 12-year high, 250 extra staff have been deployed to help clear the backlog.
While reports in the UK claim tens of thousands of British holidaymakers are being forced to delay or cancel their holidays as a result of the delays, expats based in the Gulf are unable to travel back to the UK and have been faced with excessive delays, especially those with newborn children applying for their first passports.
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