British International School, Phuket
British International School, Phuket
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Phuket Opinion: The passport jam

PHUKET: People looking to travel to Phuket by year’s end but need to renew their passports better hurry. The delays in passports being issued in the UK and Australia might upset their end-of-year holiday plans.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 18 September 2022, 09:00AM

Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot / file

Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot / file

The rush for new and renewed passports was well reported as COVID restrictions were being lifted around the world months ago. The volume of applications actually surged late last year, yet the passport crush continues today.

For Brits, the HM Passport Office last month reported a backlog of 550,000 applications. Hundreds of extra staff were put on to help clear the backlog and one announcement by the office noted that 60,000 applications were being cleared each week, yet delays continue.

At this stage the HM Passport Office recommends people to allow up to 10 weeks processing time. It may take longer.

The office has came under heavy fire from MPs who argued that the HMPO was insufficiently prepared to deal with the large influx of applications, after 400,000 passports expired at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only in April 2021 did the Passport Office move from a three to a 10-week processing window to manage the increased demand, reports the BBC.

Stephen Kinnock, the shadow minister for immigration, has criticised the government for not intervening sooner despite it knowing, he says, that the Passport Office was underperforming, the BBC added.

Australians are in the same boat, with the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) facing unprecedented demand for new and renewed passports. There has been plenty of criticism for the delays, with Australians waiting months for passports to be issued despite hundreds of extra staff being put on to help cope with the load.

Subscribe to The Phuket News

The Phuket News has been told that the wait for Australians is currently also about nine to 10 weeks; maybe longer or shorter, depending on the application. Applications with missing or incomplete information only delay the process further.

Expats staying in Phuket on one-year visas need to think so much further ahead than that, at least 15 months, in order to avoid being caught out. Any foreigner looking to renew a one-year permit to stay in December better start thinking now.

If the foreigner’s passport is set to expire before the full one-year permit-to-stay is used, the foreigner will need a new passport in order to submit their annual renewal. A 10-week wait will mean that even if they submit their application this coming week they will not get their new passport until early December. That’s how tight the timeline is for a one-year permit-to-stay-renewal to be submitted more than two months from now.

Meanwhile, travellers are being urged to not book their holidays until they have their new passport. That makes it very difficult to plan and book holidays during Phuket’s peak tourism period at the end of the year, when the weather is perfect for visitors.

At this stage, the one group that looks likely to benefit out of the passport jam are last-minute travel booking platforms. Let’s see how they cope at the end of the year.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

* (Not Hotmail/Outlook)

Fascinated | 18 September 2022 - 15:03:14

I've noticed that the shadow gov't in the UK is very quick to ctiticize but ehen it comes to alternate solutions they always remain quiet. Must be what happens with a smarmy lawyer 'leading' them. In the UK the 'opposition' is the best support the Tories have for remaining in power.

maverick | 18 September 2022 - 11:07:37

What do they expect after a nearly three year hiatus due to decisions to shut down economies around the world totally unprecedented in human history -it is likely to take another year to clear backlogs as travel demand increases - doubt anything will have been learned from it certainly not in PRC anyway


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Biden not among leaders to attend Apec

@Kurt Xi Jinping was invited , even it it drew criticism from politicians. Actually easy to find o...(Read More)

Medical services expand to cover mental health

Scandinaivan nations have already proved legalization of drugs solves all of the criminal and most ...(Read More)

Bangla touts questioned over attack on American

Is touting not forbidden? Why touting is needed on Bangla Rd? The open bar culture shows enough to ...(Read More)

Bolt driver challenges AoT rule over picking up tourists at Phuket airport

Great example of mangled translation. 'How wrong is that.." means something opposite from ...(Read More)

Bolt driver challenges AoT rule over picking up tourists at Phuket airport

Poor tourists. Arriving at Phuket International Airport, and to be able to hail a normal taxi of the...(Read More)

Bolt driver challenges AoT rule over picking up tourists at Phuket airport

It seems that Phuket Officialdom keeps ignoring the power of international social media when it come...(Read More)

Hit-and-run doctor faces ethics inquiry

Disgusting behaviour. Why hasn't this PoS been named? Apologising is clearly not enough! Should ...(Read More)

Bangla touts questioned over attack on American

.[.by four wearing uniforms who had robbed them of 8,000B]. So the police were in the area after al...(Read More)

Bolt driver challenges AoT rule over picking up tourists at Phuket airport

Officials don't understand or even seem to care about is what this does to Phuket's reputati...(Read More)

Biden not among leaders to attend Apec

Dek shows he not understand the labeled doing things between world Royalties. For a country that has...(Read More)