A SCHOOLGIRL from Sherfield-on-Loddon faces missing out on a school trip to France because her passport has been delayed.
Phoebe Chave is just one of thousands of people who may have to cancel holiday plans after the Prime Minister announced that there is a backlog of up to 30,000 passport applications.
David Cameron has said that hundreds of extra staff have been drafted in and new offices are being opened in Liverpool to help tackle the problem.
Passport applications have risen to a 12-year high, and The Passport Agency is dealing with about 465,000 renewals and first-time passport requests, with 150,000 passports sent out each week.
Robin Chave, from Sherfield-on-Loddon, fears his 12-year-old daughter may not be able to go on the school trip to France. He filled in her application online on May 6 and had sent all the relevant documentation by May 10.
He checked the online tracking system to find the application was ‘being processed’.
But Dr Chave was dismayed when he arrived home on Tuesday to find a letter from HM Passport Office containing a blank application to say his initial form had not been filled in completely.
He said: “I am at a loss to understand how an online application form cannot have been filled in completely, because you can’t move from one page of the form to the next until all the required information is entered.”
He added: “If I did do something wrong on the original application form, it would be nice to know what it was. Being asked to fill in a whole new form suggests to me that once the new form is received the processing clock can restart at day one, and the Passport Office can meet their target of processing my application within three weeks. By which time, of course, my daughter will have missed her French trip.”
Dr Chave has emailed North East Hampshire MP James Arbuthnot, saying: “I wish to register my concerns about the effectiveness of the online passport application process and the current chaotic state of the Passport Office.”
He added: “There is a either a serious problem with the IT system and process the Passport Office is using, or I have been the victim of a cynical resetting of the application clock. I am also concerned that my daughter will now miss her upcoming school French trip and her very first trip beyond the shores of this country.”
*Do you face having to cancel a holiday because you are waiting for your passport? Call The Gazette on 01256 337410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.