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Why is the price of a passport more when it's from an Embassy?

(32 Posts)
YaddahYaddahYaddah Tue 19-Oct-10 19:23:09

Bit gob-smacked really €161 to get a new passport which is £77.50!!!

Is this normal for embassies? Or is the one in Dublin just joining in with the vibe of the country and ripping the British resident here off?

(that's the vibe of ripping off not ripping off British in particular!)

EldonAve Tue 19-Oct-10 19:24:41

fairly normal

we have just looked at renewing one child's passport
it will be 3 times the price at the embassy so we are waiting til visit DH's country again

YaddahYaddahYaddah Tue 19-Oct-10 19:29:40


Wonder how they justify it!

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 19-Oct-10 21:00:35

Because it costs more to process and the Embassy has to cover its costs. In UK Home Office or Borders Agency or whoever do it. They send overseas to the Embassy - so you have freight, and then the cost of the person or people who are employed by the Embassy to type it up. Apparently.

WomanAtTheWell Wed 20-Oct-10 15:54:31

Really? Oh dear - DD1's passport runs out in the spring and we were planning to get it done here. May be thinking again - am now trying to work out in my head if I can make it sound like it would be cheaper and therefore justify a trip back to the UK!

savoycabbage Fri 22-Oct-10 06:56:27

Are you allowed to get it done in the UK if you are not living there. If you are only there for a visit? If you are then I am going to wait too. Although what if they don't let her in to the UK?????

Merlion Fri 22-Oct-10 07:19:46

Savoy - yes you can get it done in the UK when visiting but will obviously need to go to the passport office directly (think possible queues) if it is a renewal but the one day service is pretty expensive so probably worth checking out the cost to you locally. Obviously she will need a passport to get into the UK in the first place smile

Actually I found that the fees charged by our embassy were comparable with the 1 week service in the UK and that was including the DHL fee as our embassy has 'outsourced' its passport department to Hong Kong (am in Singapore) and it came back in just under a week. So maybe it does depend where you are.

kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 22-Oct-10 07:31:49

It is disgraceful. I think that the extra goes behind the bar at the embassy social clubs. They do exist, we have seen evidence with our own eyeswink. The thirsty camel was the only pub open during ramadhan but you had to be embassy staff to use it.angry

Bucharest Fri 22-Oct-10 07:48:11

There was an urban myth flying round that it was to cover the cost of the ID card scheme.

It annoys me incredibly, but what annoys me more (and my MP in the UK was looking into it for me, after I wrote to him, must remember to write to new one) is the premium rate phoneline for any enquiries you may have. You are charged on your credit card as well as from your own phone and then the people on the other end say (in my case) "Oh no, we don't know anything all we can do is contact the consulate and flag up that you've rung" (and that cost me £23)

The customer pays the cost of the postage over and above the cost of the passport anyway, so they can't justify postage.

The last time I did mine, it went to Rome where it sat for 20 days, then it was shipped to Paris where it sat for another fortnight, did it come back to me from paris? Of course not, that would be too easy, it went back to Rome, where it sat for another week, before being sent on to me.

It's a rotten rotten service. (and I speak as ex Border Agency myself!)

savoycabbage Sat 23-Oct-10 01:21:03

Thanks Merlion, I had definitely got it into my head that I would have to get it in Australia where I am living. She has an Australian passport so I think I will just use that on the way to the UK and then get her a new UK one while I am there.

It also solves the problem of finding someone here in Australia to sign the photo as I haven't been here two years yet so I don't know anyone who could do it.

natation Sat 23-Oct-10 08:12:50

You can get a new British passport whilst on "holiday" in the UK, but bear in mind that you will possibly be asked for proof of UK address that you live there, not so easy for those who have emigrated and no longer own a property or no longer received bills in the UK.

The extra monetary costs of a consular passport definitely DO NOT go behind the embassy bar. The money goes to pay for the cost of the passport, nothing else, passports in the UK are processed under cost price, I would think that consular passports are processed at actual price. I am not defending costs at all, as a large family not living in the UK, it costs us around 700 euro to renew our passports.

MrsSchadenfreude Sat 23-Oct-10 12:50:21

There are very few Embassy bars left these days, and they are no longer open to the hoi polloi due to security reasons, so I am reliably informed. grin

bunjies Sat 23-Oct-10 12:59:08

Tell me about it. I've just had to renew dd2's in France at a cost of 120E incl courier. This is 4th passport I've had to do since being here angry. The costs make no sense as they are issued in France and not sent to the UK first. I got the last one back within a week so there's no way it went to England first.

My understanding is that you're not allowed to apply for a UK passport in Britain unless you live there. You need to be able to sign for the passport when it is delivered. Also I don't know whether they check your address against records beforehand.

natation Sat 23-Oct-10 18:07:22

it is just about possible to get a UK passport if you are on holiday there long enough, so long as you can prove a UK address still, for the normal service yes you do have to be there long enough to be able to sign for it, otherwise there is the more expensive one day service, you make an appointment for the morning, you collect in the afternoon, bring proof of UK address as you may be asked for it, if you haven't got it, no passport.

Yes it's true there are few embassy bars left, FCO has had many cutbacks made in the last few years, they now also have to cut a further 24%. You find them still in "hardship" postings.

No the passports in Paris are made up there, they do not go back to the UK. It's more secure that way, only one trip from the UK to Paris as blanks.

Merlion Sun 24-Oct-10 06:58:43

Savoy this is what our High Com site says:

Applying for a passport in the UK
You may also apply to the British Identity and Passport Service (IPS) in person whilst visiting the UK.

In order to do this, you need to make an appointment with IPS in the UK and you must provide an address in the UK to which the passport may be posted. Applicants will have to be available at this address to sign for the receipt of the passport. It is possible to pay for a quicker "Premium" service in the UK.

Please note that IPS do not accept applications by post or email if you live abroad.

onimolap Sun 24-Oct-10 07:19:39

£77.50 is the normal renewal fee - exactly the same as charged within UK. Check and send is a further £8. Express (1 week) service is £112.50.

Some countries charge more for overseas renewals, but UK doesn't (cost of whole passport issuing operation is shared amongst all buyers); it does not make a profit (aiming to be self-supporting), but does include a "consular services fee" which partly defrays the cost of consular services abroad (not births, marriages and deaths; but things such as prison visits and familiy assistance).

Yes, the cost has shot up in the last decade - nothing to do with lifestyle overseas, but rather the introduction of a new Identities' Database - an enduring part of the preparations for ID cards.

I would not recommend a UK subject attempts to enter UK on a second nationality passport when the second nationality requires a visa (eg Australia, as above). It is not normally possible to get one anyhow if you are a UK national, and not possible to enter without one.

onimolap Sun 24-Oct-10 07:26:26

PS: a UK visitor's visa (6 months) costs £70.

The huge increase in price for that is because they are now biometric. You would need to attend a visa issuing centre for fingerprinting (I think the roll out of the new technology is now complete - there might still be the odd post on the old system though).

Starmummy Sun 24-Oct-10 09:56:29

Passports from here (UAE) go to Germany hmm to be processed!

natation Sun 24-Oct-10 10:31:41

But it's ok, Australians arriving in the UK for 6 months or less as visitors do not require visas. It's fine for a dual national to enter the UK on an Australian passport, if they have not got a "British citizen" UK passport or if the UK passport has expired, just means they get given a "visitor, employment and public funds prohibited" entry conditions. If they turn out to be indeed an EU national, they can just ignore the annotation in the Australian passport.

I think the prices are the same throughout Europe for a British passport from a consular post, ie 161 euro for an adult passport, 103 euro for a child passport, then you add differing and OBLIGATORY courrier fees if cannot depoist and collect the passport (yes a bit impractical for UAE residents who apply to Duesseldorf). Passports from the USA cost 203 and 130 respectively before postage. That's quite a bit more than £77.50 or £49 for a passport issued in the UK.

Oh and the UK Identities Database which the Tories are currently dismantling, don't get me started there!!!! Hubby had his money taken for his UK ID card, of course no refund when this inept department failed to deliver the ID card he had paid for after 3 months then the new government refuses to send the finally ready ID card to hubby and refuses a refund. So much for government being bankrupt, they took our cash, failed to provide the service, then abolished the whole scheme taking our money and many thousands of other UK nationals' money for nothing.

savoycabbage Mon 25-Oct-10 02:32:07

A child's British passport in Australia costs

194.45 AUD = 122.609 GBP


Onimolap, where are you getting it from that Australians have to have a visa to visit the UK? I can't find that anywhere. My Australian dh has been going back and forward for years. They won't know if my dd is duel nationality or not either. Unless they ask of course. I can barely understand her as her accent is so Australian.

You see even if it wasn't 120 pounds I still haven't got anyone to sign the photo as I haven't been here two years until January.

I think I am going to have to go to the passport office in the UK like Merlion said. I am really worried about it all now though.

visa list

Merlion Mon 25-Oct-10 04:04:03

Savoy not sure what the British Embassy in Oz says but ours says this - "If you have been in Singapore a short time and cannot meet this requirement, you can get a countersignatory who has known you for the length of time that you have been in Singapore". Maybe there is something similar or maybe there is a contact number for someone who could help - it can't be that rare for this to happen.

natation Mon 25-Oct-10 09:01:27

Australians ony need visas if comming to the UK for MORE THAN SIX MONTHS and that is the rule for all non EU nationals (ok a few exceptions but these count a tiny percentage of people coming to the UK). As Australia is not on the UK visa list, if you are coming to the UK for 6 months or less, to visit, to study etc, Australians do not need to have a visa.

Savoy, so long as you are in the UK for around 3 weeks or more and staying at a set address for delivery of a passport, you should be fine for renewing your daughter's passport. Nearly all British passport standard service renewals are done within the week now, so 3 weeks is ample time to get a passport renewed, if you there only a week, then you'd really have to pay for a premium service which may still be cheaper than what you pay in Australia. Just follow the instructions exactly so you don't get the form returned, eg photo needs to be exactly right.

Savoy, if you are travelling to the UK on a British passport and your daughter on an Australian one, especially if you have different surnames, worth photocopying the full length birth certificate showing parents' names and child's name too, then stick the photocopy in the back of your daughter's passport.

natation Mon 25-Oct-10 09:17:50

PS Savoy, your daughter CAN enter the UK even on an expired British citizen passport, mind you because of a law fining airlines 2k for undocumented passengerss who nearly aways claim asylum and cost the UK millions, the airline normally requires a passenger to show a valid document, so you would have to show the Australian passport to the airline staff who know they have to check the documents of all passengers flying the the UK. Your daughter can even present the British and Australian passport on arrival if the British one is expired.

It's only British citizens who can show their expired passports without problem on arrival in the UK. If there is ever a suspicion of misuse of an expired British passport, UKBA staff have access to the passport database so nationality and identity can be verified. So really really do not worry at all.

savoycabbage Mon 25-Oct-10 09:18:32

Thank you both. I will bring her birth certificate. I will look into what Merlion said too. You are right there must be lots of people who don't have anyone to sign their photo. It says

"If you do not know a British national or other Commonwealth citizen locally with those qualifications, a citizen of the country in which you are residing may complete and sign the form, provided he/she has a similar standing in that country has known you for two years and the Consul considers his/her signature to be acceptable"

I am coming for six weeks, the whole summer/Christmas school holidays. And staying with my sister in the ordinary way. My dh only has an Australian passport and he is coming too.

savoycabbage Mon 25-Oct-10 09:21:08

Really! I will arm myself with all the paperwork and just go for it. grin

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