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Passport Office fuck up (1st child passport) means Christmas is cancelled...

(130 Posts)
Umlauf Tue 12-Nov-13 17:47:40

... and DSs Christening.

He was born at the end of September. Knowing it would take 6 weeks to apply for his passport I rang the passport office before his birth to triple check what we would need. Was given a list over the phone.

Rang back after his birth to confirm again as was ready to send everything off. Was told to add his four grandparents' birth and marriage certificates to envelope. As these now had to be ordered urgently they were at a cost of 25 pounds each (Spoke to 2 different people at both gave a different list of required contents, but went with the longest list.)

Obtained birth certificates exactly 6 weeks before our flights home for Christmas. Rang a fourth time to go through everything. Everything ticked off and ok to send, hurrah!

Yesterday we get an email to say they need his Spanish birth certificate as well as the international one the previous four people said was the correct one. This needs to be officially translated first which takes 3 days. By the time its done there will be 3 weeks until our flights, not to mention the one week postage time either way..

We're not going are we. Our friends and family aren't going to meet DS, all DHs (and my!) Christmas presents are there, I'll have to cancel his Christening... The total costs of the palaver comes to over a grand now taking the flights, passport crap and car hire into account.. Plus my grandfather is pretty ill and I'm not sure he'll even get to meet his first and only great grandchild now..

How do I complain? On the phone they keep fobbing me off. I'm really upset. I know its a first world problem, but still!

OddBoots Tue 12-Nov-13 17:49:46

You might still get it but it is a bit tight. Is it really a week postage each way? That seems a long time these days.

Umlauf Tue 12-Nov-13 17:51:43

It took a week to send the first lot, I paid a tenner for the quickest postage and tracked it. I could use DHL but its 50 pounds for a letter!! From Spain...

123bucklemyshoe Tue 12-Nov-13 17:52:19

Can you go to passport office - isn't there some sort of fast track:

Gigondas Tue 12-Nov-13 17:52:47

Can you not courier it to uk and get it sent to family in uk who can courier it back. Yes it's an expense but better than missing all Xmas Etc.

Or is it feasible to get someone in uk to do pick up on day service? We did this for dd2 - more expensive but got passport back on named day.

Was there No website guidance? I am not sure I would rely on person on

Gigondas Tue 12-Nov-13 17:53:37

There is a pick up on day service.

SoupDragon Tue 12-Nov-13 17:54:00

If you are abroad, can an embassy help sort it out?

Umlauf Tue 12-Nov-13 17:55:02

The website guidance doesnt mention they need the second BC. Its pretty difficult to follow which is why I rang the helpline as well.

They wont let you apply via the uk, if youre overseas you have to apply from the country you are in. I asked a few times. For the same arbitrary rule they also wont send it to the UK.

There is no passport office abroad anymore, everything now has to go through Belfast, whatever country.

Beccadugs Tue 12-Nov-13 17:57:17

Friends of ours got a one day appointment for their child's first passport (I think flew to Glasgow as this was were an appointment was a available) could you do this once birth cert is translated?

If you are abroad might be worth flying to UK to "save Christmas"? Assuming you can leave DCs where you are.

Beccadugs Tue 12-Nov-13 17:58:20

Oops cross post. My idea doesn't sound like it'd work!

mumbaisapphire Tue 12-Nov-13 18:09:35

Just throwing this out there as a suggestion, but appreciate you may have already considered this and decided against it. If your child was born in Spain, would it not be quicker to apply for a Spanish passport for him assuming he is entitled to one? You can then apply for the British one at your leisure.

I had a quick check on the Spanish website and it states that a child born to foreign nationals (unless you are there for military or diplomatic reasons) is considered a Spanish citizen. So surely he is eligible?

Umlauf Tue 12-Nov-13 18:29:48

Thank you! Mumbai I'd love to, it is SO easy to get a Spanish passport, but when we tried we were told you have to have lived here a year. Thanks so much for looking though, that was really kind!

runningmad Tue 12-Nov-13 18:36:36

The instructions are on the HM Passport Office website saying original certificate with translation.

runningmad Tue 12-Nov-13 18:39:16

My friend took 3 months to get a first passport and didn't book her holiday 2 months after birth. She did exactly as the official instructions said. That's life I'm afraid, it's not nice, it's awful, but complaining is not going to make any difference other than to your level of anger which is fully understandable. It's not good enough, but that is the way passports are now issued. It's austerity measures. Civil servants working harder than ever, less of them, even more work, things take longer.

Umlauf Tue 12-Nov-13 18:41:37

Yes but that is what the international birth certificates are, they are the official thing we were given when we registered him. They asked if we wanted the Spanish one as well (we said yes just in case luckily). Then when I spoke to the passport people they told us they only wanted the international one.

eightandthreequarters Tue 12-Nov-13 18:44:05

Are you sure the embassy can't issue emergency travel documents? Had this with one of my DC (though not in Spain) and although passports are done centrally, of course they need a way to let UK nationals travel at short notice if passport is lost/stolen. Might be different of course if you have never had a passport, because you're a baby.

My sympathies!! Are you sure the Spanish one-year policy applies to EU nationals?

runningmad Tue 12-Nov-13 18:44:17

Can an embassy help? That is ironically not funny. Has anyone recently tried ringing a British embassy? I did, got a lovely chap in Malaga, was so so jealous, talked about the weather then got on to the subject about how crap it is to be employed by FCO abroad but at least he wasn't sitting where I was phoning from, he answers calls from all over Europe, emergency ones at that too, they have like 72 hours to reply to an emergency. I then got a pathetic excuse of an email from FCO who knew less than me about my enquiry.

So now all UK passports are just that, issued only in the UK, unless you already have one which is lost/expired/stolen, in which case you can get an emergency one.

Oh great civil service. Don't blame those unfortunate to be one, write to Cameron and ask why he thought to take "great" out of the name of the country of the UK of GB and NI, or is in now a joke to say great?

Umlauf Tue 12-Nov-13 18:44:48

Do you think it won't make a difference? I was hoping it might at least make sure the customer service people don't tell other people the wrong thing, or make sure there is a standard list for what everyone should include sad

I understand the passport office has recently rearranged its foreign passport dept and hoped this was teething problems they could learn from.

Umlauf Tue 12-Nov-13 18:47:29

I might be able to get an emergency one, I haven't really looked into it as I know they are 100 pound each way! Might be able to ask for it as am Xmas present though from dmil and fil... I hope it's possible, I'll ring the embassy in the morning...

Takver Tue 12-Nov-13 18:50:43

Can you not get the passport from the Embassy in Madrid? Long time ago (dd is 11!!!) but we got her baby passport from Madrid. Even if you had to travel there, it might be cheaper & easier?

Do you have Spanish ID card for baby? Any chance you might be able to travel with that?

Takver Tue 12-Nov-13 18:51:30

Sorry, just saw from runningmad that they don't do that any more. How crap is that sad

hairymonkey Tue 12-Nov-13 18:52:52

We had real problems getting ds's passport renewal in the summer after following all the info on website and left plenty of time, they only sent a letter saying photo wasn't valid on the day it was due.

I think you have to have a 'no surrender' attitude, try and remain calm, and speak to the Belfast office as most queries get sent to a call centre where they can't offer assistance only tell you what the status of your application is. They may say there isn't a phone number for the Belfast office, there is, but you have to really press them for this. Good luck! We managed to get them to ok the passport and sent next day after 2 days of phone calls.

Umlauf Tue 12-Nov-13 18:53:02

We have to have the passport to apply for his Spanish ID card. Grr!!!

runningmad Tue 12-Nov-13 19:01:10

I have NEVER seen an ETD issued as a first document to a baby, only to those who have lost passports, their application in the UK for a renewal has taken so bloody long that they have been allowed to apply for a ETD. It's not straightforward to check for British citizenship when born abroad and they have to get the recording right, whether "otherwise than by descent" or "by descent" which is why you're often asked to supply full birth certificates of grandparents.

So in all these years of staring at British passports and British ETDs, never yet come across an ETD in the hands of a baby.

runningmad Tue 12-Nov-13 19:07:28

Or of course you try the roundabout route, entering the UK as a Lille loopholer or via Ireland? There are ways and means of doing it.

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