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Queues outside Glasgow passport office as families desperate not to miss out on holidays

By Eve Beattie

Travellers queued outside Glasgow passport office this week in a bid to beat the nationwide backlog.

Applicants were pictured outside the building in Cowcaddens as families across the country count the cost of the crisis in lost holidays.

Glasgow is home to the only passport office in Scotland, and people have travelled from across the UK anxious to ensure they don't lose out, the Scottish Daily Express reports.

Other offices in Durham, Liverpool, Peterborough, London, Newport and Belfast are equally busy trying to cope with demand.

The usual wait for a passport is around five weeks, but the lead time has been increased on HM Passport Office website to 10 weeks as officials struggle to keep up with demand.

Some people have chosen to cut the wait time and pay extra for an in-person appointment at one of the seven UK offices, including Glasgow.

One desperate applicant said: "We travelled from Glasgow to Durham so that my boyfriend could get his passport before going to Seville.

"It was an absolute shambles. A guy behind me drove five hours in order to get his passport. It shouldn't be necessary."

Even when passports have been printed, many travellers say they are facing a long wait for the document to arrive because courier TNT UK has struggled to keep up with demand.

The Passport Office has hired 500 additional workers and contracted extra couriers after furious UK Government ministers described the current performance as "unacceptable".

Speaking to BBC Scotland, Marion McDonald from Drumchapel in Glasgow said: "I've waited 16 weeks, I've got over 150 hours of telephone calls, I've sent emails every second day to every passport office upgrade team, I've even sent to the chief executive officer, I've sent a complaint in. I'm getting absolutely nowhere.

"I really need to speak to somebody from the examiner's team to find out why our child's passport is still sitting with an examiner 16 weeks down the line.

"Nobody can tell us when we're going to get it."

People have also taken to social media in an attempt to get answers.

One wrote: "Still waiting on renewal passport been past to pillar to post last five days? Also been cut off four times from your upgrades team in Glasgow."

Another added: "Home office Glasgow office, passport service is ridiculous, literally I apply for my son passport on January 11 and no progress."

However, passport officials insist the majority of travellers are getting their new documents on time despite claims the system is in meltdown.

It comes as an estimated five million people put off applying for passports during the pandemic.

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Dive Deeper:
Passport office chaos as hundreds of holidaymakers queue outside for hours
Queues of people waited outside Liverpool passport office as the government reported an unprecedented demand in applications for passports since…
Huge queues at Liverpool passport office as people wait for hours
People were waiting hours for new documents on Old Hall Street today
Passport delays see huge queues at offices as holidaymakers wait for hours
Processing times can now take up to 10 weeks
MPs blame passport ‘chaos’ for nine-hour phone waits and missed family events
One MP told the House of Commons that a constituent had been waiting since before Christmas for a new passport.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Family tell how young girl's passport renewal ordeal nearly threw wedding 'into limbo'
Francesca Grace Kelly's mum Vicky said that she "wouldn't get on a plane" without her daughter, five.
'Frustrated' dad in Spain holiday limbo as daughter, 11, waiting 5 months for passport
Paul Edwards, 53, from Tredegar, Wales, is worried he may be forced to cancel his family's upcoming holiday to Fuerteventura…
Get all your news in one place