Search

Passport chaos: Hampstead woman becomes one of thousands stranded in UK this summer

PUBLISHED: 13:00 18 July 2014

Becky Robertson was forced to miss her holiday after waiting months for her new passport. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Becky Robertson was forced to miss her holiday after waiting months for her new passport. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A Hampstead woman has branded the Home Office an “incompetent mess” after delays in renewing her passport has thrown her holiday plans into chaos.

Becky Robertson, 31, of Agincourt Road, has become one of half-a-million people caught up in a national backlog of passport renewals and applications, claimed by some MPs to have been caused by the closure of seven overseas passport centres.

The backlog has left many families hoping to make their summer getaways at risk of being stranded in the UK.

Mrs Robertson, the director of a retail supply firm, was hoping to make a rare trip to Portugal to see her parents and says she has been waiting since April for her new passport.

She told the Ham&High: “I sent my passport, along with my original wedding certificate, by recorded delivery.

“I rang up straight away after seeing it had been delivered but was told it hadn’t been entered into the system. I’ve since rung up almost everyday and each time I am told it’s not in the system and that I have to wait another 48-hours.

“I’m supposed to be flying this Friday and I’m worried they’ve lost it. I’ve already paid for my flights. It’s a complete fiasco.”

The Passport Office says it should only take up to three weeks for a standard renewal.

Since starting her application process, Mrs Robertson has been waiting well over two months.

Last week the head of the Passport Office, Paul Pugh, denied accusations from MPs that his organisation was in chaos, despite now facing a backlog of more than 500,000 applications.

A whistleblower from the Passport Office told the BBC this figure did not include around 100,000 passports, like Mrs Robertson’s, which hadn’t even been scanned into the system.

Mrs Robertson says although she has already paid the £72.50 fee to have her passport renewed, her complaints led the Passport Office to tell her that if she “paid more money” her renewal could be fast-tracked.

Mr Pugh told MPs his department is due to make a profit of £50million from residents’ applications this year.

After the Ham&High contacted the Home Office, a spokesman said they would “expedite” Mrs Robertson’s application and “do their best” to ensure she didn’t have to cancel her holiday.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

On Monday January 15, the BBC featured the enforcement of council tax in its Inside Out London programme.

January is well underway but it’s not too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Fri, 18:58

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has called for the dismissal of Inner North London’s senior coroner Mary Hassell after a “deeply disappointing” meeting with community leaders to discuss her refusal to respect Jewish burial requirements.

Fri, 18:56

Andrew Dismore AM, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, has added his voice to the calls for the resignation of Inner North London coroner Mary Hassell.

Fri, 17:00

Dinny Hall has designed women’s jewellery for more than 30 years. Described as a ‘little British Tiffany’, she lives in West Hampstead.

Fri, 12:52

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Fri, 12:26

A gang armed with a hammer raided a supermarket in the early hours as staff worked inside.

PROMOTED CONTENT

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Toni Krok, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, has set up a charity to help people living with the condition and their families adjust to the challenges it brings.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now