Over the past few days, staff at the seven Passports Offices across the United Kingdom have been striking, to protest against staff shortages and the backlog of applications it has created. Reportedly, unprocessed applications across the Isles number in the tens of thousands, with Her Majesty’s Passports Office reporting the largest surge of passport requests in the past twelve years.
The Office itself, however, has taken measures to ensure that the strike in question would not affect its services. Throughout the strike action, the seven Offices have strived to remain open and serve applicants who had appointments regarding their Fast Track and Premium applications. Specifically, they have brought in extra staff to cover the absences and keep the service levels as high as possible. While this strike is ill-timed, with the summertime being the preferred time of year for Brits to go abroad, we believe this contingency plan shows great resourcefulness on the part of HM Passports Office, as well as a desire to serve their customers as best they can, even through difficult periods.
The Passports Offices, which number seven in total, mostly deal with requests for Fast Track or Premium passport applications. These are systems designed to speed up the usual six-week turnover period for passport applications, the better to help candidates who need emergency passports issued or who cannot afford to wait the usual amount of time. The process for both these systems requires a face-to-face interview, which is usually conducted at the nearest Passports Office: Durham, Liverpool, London, Peterborough, Belfast, Glasgow or Newport. This is largely what the Office has hired the temporary staffers to do, with the aim of avoiding an even bigger backlog as well as complaints from customers.
Applicants who purchase British Passport Services services can bypass this face-to-face process through a special Passports Office Appointment Exemption form, included alongside many other features in our competitively-priced Fast Track and Premium packages.
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