British Expats

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-   -   Passport Delays (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/passport-delays-607794/)

aliandchris May 7th 2009 8:24 pm

Passport Delays
 
I was thinking people could post their time frames on passport delays here. Currently the British Embassy in Washington is experiencing technical difficulties that make British passport changes horrendously slow.

If you've recently sent off your passport and have received it back, can you please post when you sent it, the date they took the payment, and when you received the passport.

Russ1 May 7th 2009 10:14 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
i sent mine of at the end of March and they sent it back to me last week, however UPS lost it so i still don't have it....

I called the Abtran number half way through the process and was fed the boiler plate violin tune of technical difficulties etc.

So in short 6 weeks or thereabouts was the time frame. Payment was taken on the second week of the process

TonyD May 8th 2009 8:56 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Chris, Here is the info you wanted:
The British Embassy Passport processing office in Washington D.C. received my Passport Renewal Application on April 1st and charged my credit card for processing on April 15. At the time I applied they promised in writing on their website that processing time was 10 days. It is now May 08 so I called Abtran and was charged (!) to discover it will take another 6 weeks - so a total of 8 weeks but of course no promise .
I wonder if anyone at the Embassy is aware of these delays, the lack of updates and if they care or will fix it ? Hopefully someone with a sense of National pride will resolve this.

Russ1 May 8th 2009 9:21 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
TonyD

I too called Abtran and will be charged a nice wedge for it, however less than 10 days later i have a message from UPS to say it's being delivered, not sure if calling Abtran somehow expedites the process...

Doubtful

TonyD May 8th 2009 9:49 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Thanks for your experience.
My concerns :
1. Abtran are not reporting these huge delays to anyone who could resolve it at the Embassy.
2. The Embassy is blissfully ignorant of these delays and just refers enquires to their "partner Abtran"
3. Temporary passports should have been offered at no charge to people whose applications are so egregiously delayed.
4.Anyone whose passport application was delayed beyond the 10 days originally promised should have been contacted immediately and offered a no-cost temporary.Their ostrich approach is going to cause unnecessary fury from Ex-pats whose tickets are wasted and travel plans destroyed.All avoidable. Put me in charge -I'll fix it!

1234qwer May 8th 2009 9:59 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by TonyD (Post 7554540)
Thanks for your experience.
My concerns :
1. Abtran are not reporting these huge delays to anyone who could resolve it at the Embassy.
2. The Embassy is blissfully ignorant of these delays and just refers enquires to their "partner Abtran"
3. Temporary passports should have been offered at no charge to people whose applications are so egregiously delayed.
4.Anyone whose passport application was delayed beyond the 10 days originally promised should have been contacted immediately and offered a no-cost temporary.Their ostrich approach is going to cause unnecessary fury from Ex-pats whose tickets are wasted and travel plans destroyed.All avoidable. Put me in charge -I'll fix it!

we should all make official complaints to our consulates maybe we can get back our own passport office in Ottawa money is tight for all of us, we shouldn't have to pay twice for our trips because of their screwups and be expected to pay for postage by UPS for a 3 day service at almost 3 time the cost of Fedex for overnight.

TonyD May 8th 2009 10:30 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by 1234qwer (Post 7554565)
we should all make official complaints to our consulates maybe we can get back our own passport office in Ottawa money is tight for all of us, we shouldn't have to pay twice for our trips because of their screwups and be expected to pay for postage by UPS for a 3 day service at almost 3 time the cost of Fedex for overnight.

I agree ,but who has a contact phone number at the Embassy??
Without a method of alerting the Embassy we're all just "wingeing Poms"

lansbury May 8th 2009 10:59 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
These two comments are on the Brit Embassy web site:-

We are currently experiencing unusually high volumes and some serious technical problems. This means it may take up to four to six weeks for your application to be processed. We are working hard to clear applications as quickly as possible.

We strongly advise against making any firm travel arrangements until you receive your passport.

aliandchris May 9th 2009 1:39 am

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by TonyD (Post 7554243)
Chris, Here is the info you wanted:
The British Embassy Passport processing office in Washington D.C. received my Passport Renewal Application on April 1st and charged my credit card for processing on April 15. At the time I applied they promised in writing on their website that processing time was 10 days. It is now May 08 so I called Abtran and was charged (!) to discover it will take another 6 weeks - so a total of 8 weeks but of course no promise .
I wonder if anyone at the Embassy is aware of these delays, the lack of updates and if they care or will fix it ? Hopefully someone with a sense of National pride will resolve this.

Whats the 8 weeks bit about? My parents are going over to see my wife's family's place and if it's 8 weeks then we won't be there at the same time as them. Russd, have you received yours yet. We also had our payment taken on April 15th. We're simply doing a name change, the sad thing is we may have been able to go over without doing that. C'est la vive.
chris and ali

TonyD May 9th 2009 4:40 am

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by lansbury (Post 7554809)
These two comments are on the Brit Embassy web site:-

We are currently experiencing unusually high volumes and some serious technical problems. This means it may take up to four to six weeks for your application to be processed. We are working hard to clear applications as quickly as possible.

We strongly advise against making any firm travel arrangements until you receive your passport.

Unfortunately this advisory was not published until long after they received my application & after they had charged my card when the promise was still 10 days.
The other problem is they did not inform me of the delay - I only found out because I called long after I should have already received the new passport.
No alternative was offered -like issuing a temporary passport while they solve their problems.
For some applicants. such a delay will cause much needless grief. I hope that by putting this information up on this Forum it may help avert such problems for those that find this thread.

1234qwer May 9th 2009 11:06 am

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by aliandchris (Post 7550567)
I was thinking people could post their time frames on passport delays here. Currently the British Embassy in Washington is experiencing technical difficulties that make British passport changes horrendously slow.

If you've recently sent off your passport and have received it back, can you please post when you sent it, the date they took the payment, and when you received the passport.

Claire is who l spoke to, she is very understanding and her number is
(613)364-6201
her message says she cant help with passport issues but just stay on the line and leave a message anyway, she got mine moving:fingerscrossed:

TonyD May 9th 2009 4:09 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Thank you

1234qwer May 10th 2009 10:34 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by TonyD (Post 7556621)
Thank you

l hope it helps, good luck

aliandchris May 11th 2009 1:28 am

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by 1234qwer (Post 7559395)
l hope it helps, good luck

Hope she's not flooded with voicemails by Monday.

TonyD May 11th 2009 4:47 am

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by aliandchris (Post 7559698)
Hope she's not flooded with voicemails by Monday.

not from me - that # is Canada so no use to me unfortunately but hopefully of value to those in Canada..

aliandchris May 12th 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
We got our passport yesterday! It had actually been processed on Thursday so I'm not sure why it took 3 days to ship instead of the overnight delivery I thought we paid for! We had actually called Abtran on Wednesday so it's possible that that could have sped it up.

Also I went on the Embassy site on Friday and completed the customer survey and at the end of that there was an email address for the customer service and complaints department which I hadn't found anywhere else on the site. I emailed both of these my situation and received an email back on Monday to say that the passport had been completed on Thursday and to expect it today. So obviously this didn't help speed up my passport but it may help others since they did reply very quickly.

I also emailed Dan the British Consulate member on this forum who was extremely helpful.

So my passport took just under 6 weeks to come. Good luck to everybody waiting!

TonyD May 12th 2009 11:32 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
I used the email address you mentioned. I got an "out of the office" automated reply. I am still waiting for a response. You were just lucky??
I wish there was an efficient way to sort through all this incompetence ,mis-information and lack of communication.There isn't so I'll get a second passport.

Catgirl May 13th 2009 12:57 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
I sent an application to renew my daughter's passport on April 14th, back when it said that it would take 10 working days to process it. I got back the card saying that they have received the application.
We got tickets to London for the 24th of June and since they have not even taken the payment I am now worried. Time to start calling them I guess. Just another way for Abtran to make extra $$ from the phone calls.

TonyD May 13th 2009 3:25 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Forget Abtran - based on my experience their $180/hr information is rubbish.
Suggest you fax/call/write the Embassy until you find someone who cares.
Good Luck !

mt.winterbottom May 13th 2009 7:18 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Hey there,

I'm a complete novice at this, and signed up through desperation.

I had my passport stolen a month ago, and applied for a new one. Payment was taken on May 6, and so i assume it might be another 6 weeks from now?

So it leaves me to question: for those of us who are travelling (not back to the UK straight away), what options are there? Emergency documents - no, a passport that doesn't take 8 weeks - surely not the only possibility...

And add to this that i can't ever actually speak to anybody about this, and by the sounds of things Abtran is a waste of time. I was thinking of sending fax, email, letters - let alone complaints - about the service and to hopefully get my passport within the next month. Any other suggestions????

Please please please, i'm totally baffled by how it can take so long and there can be such minimal possibility of tracking the processing - let alone the cheek to charge worrying people who have had their passport stolen an arm and a leg to speak to nobody...

Thanks,

Tom

TonyD May 13th 2009 7:34 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Thanks for voicing your concerns and taking an active approach to this passport chaos issue. If we inform the Embassy, they have an opportunity to fix the problem. I suggest in my very limited but awful experience that you have to spend much time (& money) contacting anyone connected with the issue. The essence of democracy is that the diligent citizen informs the government of their failings?
There is a member of this forum who may be able to help but I suspect he is swamped with such requests. His name is Dean "British Consul". I hope he has a very large staff..........

TonyD May 13th 2009 7:38 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
This link may help:
http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/en/our-off...akingcomplaint

Catgirl May 13th 2009 7:42 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
I did send an email this morning to the address on the customer survey...didn't even receive the automated reply yet :( but this afternoon the bank is showing that the embassy charged the account on Monday, 11th of May.
If we don't my daughter's passport by 23rd of June we are in big trouble:(

mt.winterbottom May 13th 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Thanks Tony.

I've sent an email, and will get the fax/letters off now. I truly think that the service is awful given the number of people that must be worrying about this. I think that we really should try to raise issue with the Embassy to see that service is improved.

I seem now to be in the position you were a week or two back. It is making me rather anxious i have to say. Which numbers did you call at the embassy and did you speak to anyone there? Or was it all Abtran? On a purely selfish note i really do need the passport by the start of next month...

TonyD May 13th 2009 8:37 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Oh no , nobody ever replies except Dean the hero in all this.
Fax # is the Chancery on the Embassy website. It is really a shotgun approach and I have no idea who the heroes and villains are.
This wastes a lot of time and involves people who have better things to do but until they fix the problem and give accurate answers to simple questions it will only get worse as the holiday season approaches?

TonyD May 13th 2009 8:40 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by Catgirl (Post 7568913)
I did send an email this morning to the address on the customer survey...didn't even receive the automated reply yet :( but this afternoon the bank is showing that the embassy charged the account on Monday, 11th of May.
If we don't my daughter's passport by 23rd of June we are in big trouble:(

In my case the date of charging was meaningless.See my chronology elsewhere.

mt.winterbottom May 13th 2009 9:05 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by aliandchris (Post 7565627)
We got our passport yesterday! It had actually been processed on Thursday so I'm not sure why it took 3 days to ship instead of the overnight delivery I thought we paid for! We had actually called Abtran on Wednesday so it's possible that that could have sped it up.

Also I went on the Embassy site on Friday and completed the customer survey and at the end of that there was an email address for the customer service and complaints department which I hadn't found anywhere else on the site. I emailed both of these my situation and received an email back on Monday to say that the passport had been completed on Thursday and to expect it today. So obviously this didn't help speed up my passport but it may help others since they did reply very quickly.

I also emailed Dan the British Consulate member on this forum who was extremely helpful.

So my passport took just under 6 weeks to come. Good luck to everybody waiting!

aliandchris....

What were the email addresses that you sent and which were replied to fairly quickly? I have the feedback.consular.services one, but any others would be much appreciated.

Thanks.


Tom

Catgirl May 14th 2009 12:29 am

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by TonyD (Post 7569034)
In my case the date of charging was meaningless.See my chronology elsewhere.

OMG! Thanks TonyD
This is ridiculous. At the time we applied their website said 10 working days so we were crazy enough to go buy tickets x4 to London followed by another trip to visit family.

JayBowyer May 14th 2009 4:03 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
I sent my passport application in and it was received on the 22nd of April. I haven't had any kind of card saying it was received. Are you meant to have some kind of acknowledgment, because if you are, I don't have it.

I am boiling mad. We've been looking forward to our trip in June for seven months now, ever since our baby daughter died. This trip was put out there as something to look forward to - to keep us going. My dad is paying. He can't even book tickets from his end (Britain) until he has my passport number, issue date and expiration date. I am not that worried about getting the passport in time, but the point is, we can't even book the tickets if we don't have the bloody passport and if this goes on much longer, we can't afford the tickets!

My kids haven't ever seen the sea or been on a plane. My partner hasn't had a holiday in 18 years. If we can't go in June, we cannot go at all this year. This is completely awful.

I've sent an email, and I will be sending a letter of complaint I've written off to the embassy and the passport center later today.

This is so totally insane. I can't believe they charge $2.60 a minute to call Abtran. American Immigration gives you more information than this and they're free - and that's really saying something. It's just disgusting that you have to have a credit card to talk to someone about passport status. I am SO angry right now.

Absolutely ridiculous. Someone has to do something about this. We need to picket out there or something.

Catgirl May 14th 2009 4:54 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
We'll be right there with you.
We got a card back saying they had received the application because I sent it certified mail.
Let's just hope they get their act together.

JayBowyer May 14th 2009 5:37 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by Catgirl (Post 7572073)
We'll be right there with you.
We got a card back saying they had received the application because I sent it certified mail.
Let's just hope they get their act together.

Were booking the flights. We can't wait any longer to watch the prices go up. We're just going to have to hope and pray I get that passport before our departure date.

JayBowyer May 14th 2009 7:24 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
And flights are now booked for June 21st :)

That's five weeks away. To not have the passport then would be truly shameful. I've sent two letters of complaint - one to the Embassy complain department and one to the NAPPC complaints department. Also I've sent the same letter via email. Additionally my mum is writing to Gordon Brown with the letters I've sent, the situation for all of us and the timeline, etc etc.

I love my mum - she rocks :D I wonder if it'll do any good...

Catgirl May 14th 2009 8:02 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by JayBowyer (Post 7572448)
And flights are now booked for June 21st :)

That's five weeks away. To not have the passport then would be truly shameful. I've sent two letters of complaint - one to the Embassy complain department and one to the NAPPC complaints department. Also I've sent the same letter via email. Additionally my mum is writing to Gordon Brown with the letters I've sent, the situation for all of us and the timeline, etc etc.

I love my mum - she rocks :D I wonder if it'll do any good...

Best of luck!
Our flights are on June 24th so yeah...it shouldn't really take them this long to process a passport. Could it be that a lot of people rushed with their applications before the prices went up and Abtran has a bit more work to do? Maybe the machines really broke down...all of them...for a few weeks...

zargof May 15th 2009 1:02 am

Re: Passport Delays
 
So, I applied for my passport renewal on April 17 back when the website said it would take two weeks, which should have been plenty of time as I am travelling this Saturday.

When I hadn't heard anything at the end of last week I had another look at the website and it had the message about it taking 4-6 weeks. I called the Abtran number and wasted $15 as they told me nothing of use.

Following that I contacted Dean (British Consul) and told him the situation on Monday, he looked into it and told me that my application wasn't even in the system yet and there was no chance I'd get my passport by the end of the week.
After that I called the local consul in Chicago and after explaining the situation I got a call back from a lady called Eileen and arranged to go to Chicago tomorrow to get a temporary passport that would get me back into the UK and then apply for a renewal while I was there. At the same time she also said that she would contact the embassy in DC and cancel my application.

Anyway, this afternoon I got another from Eileen to say that the embassy in DC had called her and it seems that they had produced my new passport and were sending it via overnight and I should have it in my sticky little mitts in the morning.

So it has been a bit stressful the last week or so, but it's all worked out it seems.

My suggestion to anyone waiting who needs their passport urgently as they already have travel plans would be to ignore Abtran and contact the Embassy/consul directly and explain the situation, and maybe some one will find your application in whatever pile it's in and do something about it.

It appears the squeaky wheel gets the grease...

Talented Ferret May 15th 2009 5:47 am

Re: Passport Delays
 
Zargof! You are a delight, I shall be calling the local Consul here in Houston in the morning.
I applied in early April. They took the payment from my account two weeks ago, and I've spent so much on phone calls to Abtran I need a bail-out. They are about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. I've also sent three emails to the embassy, one fax, and called several times, just to be informed "We are doing our best to clear the backlog"
I'm due to travel on the 21st, my Mum's been really ill and I just need to get home to see her.
Glad to hear that your passport is on it's way.

Talented Ferret May 15th 2009 5:56 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
Here's today’s experience in the Abtran Saga.
Called again this morning and was informed yet again, that my name is not on the list of issued passports. Explained that I'm booked to travel next Thursday, and that I booked it back when they said processing times were 10days. Today they have requested I send by fax: 202-588-7892 proof of why I need to travel. The problem is they already have the proof, I mailed it, together with my application, and a letter explaining why I needed to travel five weeks ago.
I honestly do not know or understand the point of Abtran? Clearly they have no information available to them, the chap I spoke to, told me the only information he has available is the date they took the money from my account . I don't understand why we should be charged an extortionate sum of money, for a process that cannot even tell you what stage the said process is at. All I want to know is, where is my passport? Does the application still sit in it's envelope in a box, or is it buried under a pile of papers on someone’s desk.
To be told continually to try calling back tomorrow achieves nothing other than to line the coffers of Abtran.
They also said The Embassy is not expediting any passports unless it was noted at the time of application it's needed for an emergency. Mine was. I even called Abtran prior to mailing my application and purchasing my ticket, and they assured me I would have it back in time if I marked the envelope attention of the 'Blue Team' .
Please do not waste your money calling Abtran.
Call you're local Consulate. I left a message on their answer phone as soon as I got off the phone with Abtran. They returned my call within minutes, are contacting the Blue Team at the passport office today, and will contact me via phone by 2pm this afternoon with an update.... Finally maybe some sanity to all of this.

JayBowyer May 15th 2009 11:11 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by Talented Ferret (Post 7575329)
Here's today’s experience in the Abtran Saga.
Called again this morning and was informed yet again, that my name is not on the list of issued passports. Explained that I'm booked to travel next Thursday, and that I booked it back when they said processing times were 10days. Today they have requested I send by fax: 202-588-7892 proof of why I need to travel. The problem is they already have the proof, I mailed it, together with my application, and a letter explaining why I needed to travel five weeks ago.
I honestly do not know or understand the point of Abtran? Clearly they have no information available to them, the chap I spoke to, told me the only information he has available is the date they took the money from my account . I don't understand why we should be charged an extortionate sum of money, for a process that cannot even tell you what stage the said process is at. All I want to know is, where is my passport? Does the application still sit in it's envelope in a box, or is it buried under a pile of papers on someone’s desk.
To be told continually to try calling back tomorrow achieves nothing other than to line the coffers of Abtran.
They also said The Embassy is not expediting any passports unless it was noted at the time of application it's needed for an emergency. Mine was. I even called Abtran prior to mailing my application and purchasing my ticket, and they assured me I would have it back in time if I marked the envelope attention of the 'Blue Team' .
Please do not waste your money calling Abtran.
Call you're local Consulate. I left a message on their answer phone as soon as I got off the phone with Abtran. They returned my call within minutes, are contacting the Blue Team at the passport office today, and will contact me via phone by 2pm this afternoon with an update.... Finally maybe some sanity to all of this.

Hey TF, did you find out anything more? I hope you get your passport ASAP :)

*HUGE hugs* - this is so stressful, but I think all will soon be resolved. They are going to have to do something soon because the complaint level will reach an enormous high and people are going to start going to court. This is America after all, and while we are expats, the litigation situation in this country will probably prevail one of these days...

I really want to just be able to look forward to seeing the old country again...aaarghhh *weak yelling noise*

Catgirl May 15th 2009 11:16 pm

Re: Passport Delays
 
I have contacted the British Consulate in Atlanta, waiting for a reply, hopefully on Monday.:unsure:

Talented Ferret May 17th 2009 2:45 am

Passport Delays
 
Calling the Consulate seems to have done the trick. Got a call from the passport office on Friday afternoon. They said they found my application and will process my passport Monday. it should be delivered Tuesday. So fingers crossed.

Best of luck to you all and hope you see you're passorts soon. :fingerscrossed:

JayBowyer May 17th 2009 2:59 am

Re: Passport Delays
 

Originally Posted by Talented Ferret (Post 7578220)
Calling the Consulate seems to have done the trick. Got a call from the passport office on Friday afternoon. They said they found my application and will process my passport Monday. it should be delivered Tuesday. So fingers crossed.

Best of luck to you all and hope you see you're passorts soon. :fingerscrossed:

Excellent news TF! That's wonderful! Hopefully ours should come as well then. I wonder what the heck they even mean by "technical difficulties"?

By the way, my Mum did write to Gordon Brown, and she says if he doesn't help her, she's going to write to the Queen. God Love her. I do - she's so awesome :D She's going to bat in ye Olde England for us all :D Gotta feel like you're doing something, don't you? :)


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