• Amid Passport Processing Slowdown, Expedite Options Available In-Country
  • November 24, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Applicants for British passports are currently experiencing six to eight-week delays due to a high demand for passport services. Overseas applicants not currently in the UK can seek expedited services by traveling to and applying within the UK, but expedite options are not available overseas. Expedite options were implemented as part of the Home Office’s assumption of responsibility for passport processing, in part due to the lengthy processing delays.

    What do Overseas Applicants Need to Know?

    Overseas applicants applying for British passports or seeking renewed passports need to know that:

    • Consular processing for overseas applicants has been largely eliminated, however 12-month extensions are still available for overseas British nationals;
    • Overseas applicants can apply for or renew British passports by mail, but they may face 6-8 week delays; and
    • British nationals can travel to the UK to make use of expedited options for new passports or renewal applications.

    Expedited Processing Options

    British nationals who apply for new passports or renewals in the UK are eligible for free temporary expedited processing options. British nationals eligible for the expedited processing options include:

    • Those with imminent travel plans but whose in-country passport applications have been delayed due to government backlogs;
    • Pending in-country passport applications;
    • In-person adult passport renewals; and
    • Children’s passport applications filed within the UK.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Overseas applicants for British passports should check with their immigration professional to consider whether prolonged overseas processing warrants a trip to the UK to apply for an expedited passport in-country.

    As a reminder, one effect of the twelve-month extension of UK passports for overseas British citizens is that such applicants do not qualify for the visa waiver program for travel to the United States. As such, British business visitors to the United States who have extended their passports under this process must instead apply for a B1/B2 visa at a U.S. Embassy.