This year has seen the several changes to British passport renewal for anyone living overseas. The changes include a price rise and the introduction of regional passport centres located in Düsseldorf, Hong Kong, Madrid, Paris, Pretoria, Washington, and Wellington. These regional offices will be completely in place by the end of 2010 and replace the passport service previously offered by embassies and consulates.
However more change is on the cards with the announcement that all passports are to be processed(printed) in the UK from 2011 by the Identity & Passport Service.
In the meantime a new style passport will be issued in the UK from October 2010 along with a new emergency travel document for issue overseas in November 2010. Sometime in 2011 all passport printing will be sent to the UK(from the regional centres) and in most cases the new passport will be returned direct to the applicant from the UK. The FCO advice is currently that there will be some local differences to this service and that you should seek guidance from your local embassy web site.
Here are some relevant quotes from the FCO document entitled, Changes to Overseas Passport Service, which also refers to future plans that will see all passport processing returned to the UK
- By the end of 2010 we will have created seven Regional Passport Processing Centres, based in Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, Madrid, Paris, Pretoria, Washington, and Wellington.
- These Centres will process all the passport applications for customers overseas until that work is centralised in the UK.
- Until next Spring British nationals renewing their passports will continue to apply to their regional passport processing centre. After this, however, all passport-printing operations are being transferred to the UK.
- All passport printing operations centralised in the UK in 2011
- There are longer term plans to move all passport application processing back to the UK. We will inform customers as soon as we know when and how this will affect the service.
Quite what this means for expats remains to be seen.
Although passports are no longer available at most British embassies and consulates emergency travel documents will continue to be issued when required by these establishments.
The current best advice on British passport renewals would seem to be.
If you need to renew your British passport first consult your local embassy web site and look for details there. However having said that the British Embassy in Thailand for example makes no direct reference to the changes on their website while the British Embassy in Beijing website is much more specific with the detail.