x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Fresh measures to help UK expats caught in passport crisis

British citizens wanting to renew an existing passport will be able to apply to the British Consulate for it to be extended for 12 months rather than getting a new 10-year passport. No additional fees will be charged.

ABU DHABI // Measures have been introduced to help British expatriates caught in their government’s passport applications woes.

Citizens wanting to renew a passport will be able to apply to the British consulate for a 12-month extension, rather than getting a new 10-year passport. No extra fees will be charged.

Parents or guardians with children living overseas who urgently need to travel to the UK can apply for an emergency travel document for the child, instead of a new or renewed passport.

Holiday plans for some UK expatriates have been thrown into chaos after reports in the UK claimed the UK passport office was under pressure to clear a backlog of 500,000 applications. The British government last year closed a centre in Dusseldorf, Germany, that handled applications from expatriates.

The central office in Liverpool has since processed all overseas and domestic applications. The cost-cutting initiative has effectively doubled waiting times for applications to renew or replace passports from three weeks to six weeks.

Last week British home secretary Theresa May announced measures to help clear the application backlog. Ms May said applications would be fast-tracked for free for those who need to travel urgently.

The British embassy in the UAE stopped processing passport applications in 2010.

To apply for either service, Britons should contact the British embassy in Abu Dhabi on 02 610 1100 or the consulate in Dubai on 04 309 4444, and select option 2 for consular services.

For more information visit www.gov.uk/overseas-passports

jbell@thenational.ae