How will the five-week passport office strike affect your travel plans?
Over 1 million passport applications can become a bottleneck. HM Passport Office 5 weeks strike from April.
In a ‘massive escalation’ of disputes over employment, wages and conditions, the Public and Commercial Service (PCS) union announced that it would be closing its doors to 1,000 people in all seven offices in England, Wales and Scotland from 3 April to 5 May. More members said they were leaving. Belfast passport office staff may later join the strike.
Unions say strike will have ‘significant impact’ on deliveries passport as summer approaches.
What does that mean for vacationers? These are important questions and answers.
Was this a surprise?
Not perfect. A number of HM Passport offices went on strike on Thursday 16 March, impacting daily operations and emergency appointments. The PCS union said passport production had stopped at its Newport office and emergency passport interviews had been canceled in Glasgow and Durham.
Unions are trying to make civil servant strikes as effective and high-profile as possible in pursuit of better wage negotiations. Vacationers are also an obvious target, with more people planning to travel abroad than ever before since the coronavirus pandemic.
What impact will the strike have?
The issuance process has worked very smoothly since the surge in passport applications a year ago that caused very long delays and people missed their holidays.
The HM Passport Office claims it takes travelers 10 weeks to apply for a passport, even for a simple renewal. But until last fall, the average processing time for passports was 12 days for simple applications and 29 days for more complex ones, according to the State Accountability Office. But demand is steadily increasing as the Easter holidays approach, and summer will be his busiest time since 2019.
During peak periods, including April, the HM Passport Office can receive 250,000 applications per week. We calculate that over 1 million passport applications are likely to be filed during the strike. Some of these are urgent cases, but the fast track option may be closed so that the available effort can be put into handling “normal” applications.
Business Travel Association CEO Clive Ratten said: “A passport office strike would have devastating consequences for business travel and the UK economy.
“These strikes will affect businesses across the UK, resulting in lost sales and trade, further hurting industries and economies that have so far seen a recovery.
“More than one million applications are expected to be processed during the strike period, and we urge the government to reach an agreement with the PCS as soon as possible to avoid a summer of discontent.”
An Interior Ministry spokesman said: “We are disappointed that the unions have decided to go on strike after having constructive discussions to find a solution.
“While we are working to manage the impact of the strike, we have developed a comprehensive contingency plan to ensure we can continue to provide essential services.”
Independent I understand that there is no change to the guidance that travelers should be given 10 weeks between passport application and delivery.
What should travelers do?
Panic about the prospect of long latencies could trigger a surge of unwanted applications and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. UK government publishes inaccurate information about passport expiration rules For travelers to the European Union.
Here is the actual test for UK passport holders to the EU and the wider Schengen area, including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
- The passport was issued within 10 years of the date of arrival in the EU.
- Your passport is valid for at least 3 months from your intended date of departure from the EU.
For example, if a passport issued on May 1, 2013 expires on February 1, 2024, that’s fine for anyone planning an Easter holiday in Spain.
In many other countries, including the United States and Australia, passports are valid until their expiration date.
However, some countries require an expiration date of 6 months.
The last time there was a serious delay in processing my passport, a member of parliament came to my aid. Will it be this time?
no. During the problem a year ago, the HM Passport Office operated a “hotline” and had a special desk for MP passport requests or voters who needed to travel urgently. However, the concerns are unrelated to industrial action and a similar reaction cannot be expected this time.
Can I claim travel insurance if I miss my passport and cannot travel?
No, all documents must be in order. If passport bottlenecks become severe, some travel agencies may be lenient.
How will this affect confidence in the travel industry?
After mass cancellations and airport meltdowns a year ago, even the threat of a passport strike will further undermine confidence in international travel.