A heartbroken aunt says her family’s holiday in Menorca has been ruined as her five-year-old niece’s passport has still not arrived.
Jane Waite, from Bristol, says they are all at ‘fight’ as little Maybel’s passport is unlikely to be back in time for their May 21 departure due to frustrating delays.
Maybel’s mother, Kate Barrett, mailed her daughter’s application along with that of her 11-year-old son Bobby on March 10, as the passport office has advised travelers to allow 10 weeks for processing.
But while Bobby’s returned three weeks ago, Maybel’s was “caught in the system” and the family claim they were told it won’t arrive until June.
It comes amid a massive lockdown backlog of applications, like the Home Office-led Quango struck by 9.5 million people trying to renew themselves their passports this year.
Some have been waiting for the documents to be returned for more than 10 weeks, with holidays ruined and flights missed, as Boris Johnson threatened to ‘privatize’ the passport office’s ass.
However, the agency has urged customers not to book trips until they have a valid passport.
Jane says the family are “frantic” and fear they will have to leave the child at home with her mum while they enjoy the luxurious, sunny retreat.
“Preparing for the holiday should have everyone excited, but instead we’re thinking about what the hell we’re going to do,” she told The Sun Online
“The reason we are all leaving is because my father had problems with his health and heart and has dementia.
“We really want to go and make this big family with my parents special. We don’t know how many of these remain.”
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Jane says Maybel’s mother has been on non-stop calls to the passport office as she desperately tries to find a reason for the delay.
She says Maybel and Bobby’s applications ended up in different places to be processed – even though they were sent out at the same time.
“Maybel’s has been caught up in the system and we’re not exactly sure why as we’re constantly being given various reasons as to why it’s being held up and what they want,” said Jane.
“Kate can’t get help on the phone, she gets mixed answers. It was just an absolute headache.
“They said the problem was initially something to do with the photo, so we sent a new photo which was accepted.
“Then they said the countersignature on it wasn’t correct – but it’s the same one Bobby authorized.
“And now they’re saying there’s so many fast track applications coming in that they’re obviously a priority so theirs won’t be back until June.
“We’re at our wit’s end.”
Jane says the family faces the prospect of having to put paid to Maybel’s excitement by telling her she can’t accompany her father, brother, uncle, aunt, two cousins and three grandparents on vacation.
“The sad thing is that Maybel is the most excited of all of us,” she said.
“We’ve played up this holiday so much, but now we might have to tell her she can’t come.
“She’s only five, but she’s already packed her own bag.
“She has no idea at this point that her passports won’t be ready. We don’t know what to do.”
The government was forced to change the recommended waiting period from five to 10 weeks earlier this year after more than five million passports expired during the pandemic, prompting a boom in applications.
However, the passport office says the 10-week guidance begins from the moment all the required information is in place — not from the day the application is sent.
A spokesman for HM Passport Office said: “Since April 2021 we have been advising people to allow up to ten weeks to apply for their UK passport as more than five million people have delayed applying due to the pandemic.
It was just an absolute headache
“We urge people who need a new passport to apply for one as soon as possible, with the vast majority of all passport applications being processed well within 10 weeks.
“To meet this demand, we have increased the number of employees by 500 since April 2021. This has helped us process more applications than ever before, with more than 1 million passport applications processed as of March 2022.”
“The Passport Advice Hotline is being provided by Teleperformance, which is in the process of hiring additional staff to better serve customer inquiries.”
It comes just days after the prime minister accused wide swathes of the public sector of post-Covid malaise at “working from home” – with no desire to resolve pandemic issues.
Mr Johnson told TalkTV the Brits “deserved a cheaper and faster service” and he revealed privatization was on the table for every failing public sector body.
In an exclusive interview with presenter Tom Newton Dunn, he said: “I don’t care if an institution is in the public or private sector, I just want it to add value and provide good service… I don’t command anything.
“We all got used to working from home and Zoom calls because we thought we could do business that way.”
But he warned, “Is it just as productive when I see institutions not delivering things like passports or driver’s licenses quickly?”
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https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8719295/family-holiday-menorca-ruined-niece-passport/ Our £10,000 family holiday to Menorca is about to be ruined as niece, 5, still hasn’t gotten a passport back