British embassy rolls out passport extensions

PHUKET: The British Embassy in Bangkok has announced that it will begin conducting appointments on Monday so that British nationals in need of an extension to their current passport can be issued them.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) in London is dealing with the highest demand for passports in 12 years and has issued more than three million passports so far in 2014.

The heightened demand prompted Home Secretary Theresa May to roll out a slew of temporary measures earlier this month to relieve the pressure on HMPO staff (story here).

Following the June 12 announcement that British embassies will be processing applications for 12-month extensions to the validity of British passports (story here), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now confirmed details of how to access the additional services being provided to British nationals overseas.

“British nationals living overseas whose passports have expired within the last six months, or are due to expire in the next three months – or seven months if they are in or going to a country that requires travellers to have six months left on their passport – can now have their passport extended for 12 months with an official stamp in their existing passport,” noted a statement issued by the FCO this week.

“This requires a minimum of three blank pages in the passport. Those who are eligible should contact their nearest Embassy or Consulate to make an appointment for this service.”

There will be no charge for the passport extension, the notice read.

Applicants will need to bring their existing passport and complete an application form.

“Appointments are essential,” said the notice.

“We will check eligibility and confirm that the relevant country has agreed to accept passports extended in this way. Bookings for appointments are being taken now, and appointments will be available from June 23, or as soon as we have received confirmation from the host country [the applicant will be travelling to] that they will accept the validity of passports extended in this way.”

However, those who have already applied to have their passport renewed cannot get an extension in their current passport, even if they still have their passport with them.

“Those who need to travel urgently may be able to apply for an Emergency Travel Document. Customers should contact their nearest Embassy or High Commission to check if they are eligible,” advised the embassy.

“Customers whose passports have recently been lost or stolen can apply for an Emergency Travel Document as usual.”

Parents or guardians of children living overseas who wish to travel may be able to apply for an emergency travel document in place of both new (first time) passport and passport renewals for their children.

“Applicants will need to provide the same information as when applying for a passport for a child if the child has not held a British passport before,” the embassy explained.

“In most cases, we will also ask customers to provide evidence that all those who have parental responsibility for the child agree to apply for an Emergency Travel Document for the purpose of the proposed travel, or provide evidence that they have sole responsibility for the child, such as a court order.

“Customers can then follow instructions to apply for an Emergency Travel Document.”

For more details, visit the FCO website (click here and here).

Meanwhile, the Passport Office in London has extended operating hours for its Advice Line, which now has staff answering calls from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

“They hope that the additional resources and increased hours will improve the service for costumers both in the UK and overseas,” the embassy posted on Facebook (click here).

For Advice Line contact details, click here.

The British Embassy in Bangkok is located at 14 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan,
Bangkok 1033, and may be contacted via the following formats:
Tel: 02-3058333.
Fax: 02-2559278

Phuket News

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