British Consul in Bangkok, Michael Hancock, explained to The Phuket News today, “The changes that have just been announced are a new service which has been introduced now that HMPO has taken over full responsibility for processing passport applications worldwide.
“There have been a number of changes as HMPO have taken over responsibility from the Foreign Office.”
Up until December last year applications had to be sent to the regional Passport Processing Centre in Hong Kong. When that was cancelled, they had to be sent direct to Liverpool instead.
Now, however, comes another change: applications must be made in person at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Bangkok which will then forward the application to the UK.
The new passport is returned from the UK to the VAC, from where it can be collected and the old passport cancelled.
Mr Hancock explained, “HMPO have said that these new measures are in place to protect the public and minimise the risk of fraud and identity theft.”
He added, “My understanding is that the timings remain the same as they have been for some time – four weeks for a renewal and six weeks for a first-time application or an application to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport.”
The information needed to complete the passport application process, including the address and contact details for the VAC, is available on the Gov.UK website.
Alternatively, applicants can call the Passport Advice line – in the UK – at +44 300 222 0000, between 8am and 8pm UK, or e-mail overseasNewportCCC@hmpo.gsi.gov.uk.