I can’t go on holiday & may miss my son playing for England after passport office lost TWO of my passports – I’m trapped | The Sun
A MUM is scared she'll miss her son's overseas football match because the Passport Office lost TWO of her passports.
Celia Evans, 47, first sent off her application for a passport renewal in February – and has got nowhere since.
She sent in her original passport AND her expired Australian passport to the Passport Office – upon their request – and she fears both are now lost.
Now, the mum-of-four, from Oxted, Surrey, fears she'll miss out on her son Jack's once-in-a-lifetime international footie match.
Jack, 13, is playing for England in the Gothia World Youth Cup in Sweden.
She told the Sun: "It has been five months. I'm being treated horrendously. I just don't know what else to do."
Celia first sent her passport renewal request in February.
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But weeks later she got an email to say her application was being withdrawn.
Baffled Celia phoned the passport office and was told she also needs to send in her expired Australian passport.
Celia lived in Australia for 10 years and three of her kids – aged 16, 13, 11 and nine – were born there.
The Passport Office promised to extend the application to allow time for the passport to arrive.
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But despite sending it the next day, the passport didn't arrive and her application was again withdrawn.
Celia added: "I went through a really painful complaints process and I finally managed to get it finished on April 12.
"They said it would take 10 days to get back to me. But I didn't get a phone call until May 10."
She was then asked to post in an application – rather than apply online – with a cover letter with evidence of her complaint on May 12.
"Since then I have heard nothing. I got no application number. I got no acknowledgment that my application was ever received," Celia added.
"I have spent hours and hours and hours trying to call somebody and trying to get through to somebody. It's a joke."
Celia was unable to get through to anyone on the phone – and she is sometimes kept on hold for hours at a time.
It has been five months. I'm being treated horrendously. I just don't know what else to do.
"I have a life to live and I just can't do it. I tried and tried and tried.
"It's clear to me that they've lost my application. I have no idea where my Australian passport is.
"I did a new online application but now I'm in a black hole with no way of moving this forward.
"I also called the Australian Embassy and sobbed down the phone.
"My son is going to the Gothia Cup in Sweden and he's representing England under-14s and I wasn't going to be able to see him.
"But they took pity on me and are getting me an emergency passport.
"I need to travel for work but I haven't been able to do that since February.
"I've had to cancel holidays for my kids in April. It's getting more and more tense because this world cup is coming up.
"Finally I think I might be able to travel but the stress involved.
"It has been five months. I'm being treated horrendously. I just don't know what else to do.
"It's a very broken system."
A HM Passport Office spokesperson said: "Staff are processing approximately 250,000 passport applications each week and between March and May 98.5% of applications were completed within 10 weeks.
"But we cannot compromise security checks and people should apply with plenty of time prior to travelling.
"Since April 2021, we’ve clearly stated that people should allow up to ten weeks when applying for their passport to factor in the increased demand, which has seen 5 million people delay their passport application due to the pandemic.
"An expedited service is available at no additional cost to help the small percentage of people whose applications take longer than ten weeks to receive their passports before they travel."
The Passport Office currently advise allowing around 10 weeks to get a new passport back due to a record number of applications.
However, many families have complained that they have waited longer than 10 weeks, with hundreds resorting to queueing through the night at the Passport Office.
One couple said they were facing having to cancel their wedding due to passport issues, while a five-year-old's Disneyland holiday was ruined by the passport delays.
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And now new research has found that more delays could cause problems, according to the Independent, due to new plans to cut staff.
Here is how to get a fast track passport renewal.
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