Passport delay threatens Newton Aycliffe couple's dream honeymoon

Darlington and Stockton Times: NO PASSPORT: Daniel and Jessica Riley from Newton Aycliffe may miss their honeymoon because Daniel's passport has not come back yet. Picture:SARAH CALDECOTT NO PASSPORT: Daniel and Jessica Riley from Newton Aycliffe may miss their honeymoon because Daniel's passport has not come back yet. Picture:SARAH CALDECOTT

A NEWLY married couple are in danger of missing out on their dream honeymoon after being caught up in the passport crisis.

Daniel and Jessica Riley, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, have been saving up for the romantic all-inclusive break to Sorrento in Italy next week since their wedding last September.

But delays in the processing of Mr Riley’s passport now mean their trip of a lifetime is hanging in the balance.

It comes as Home Secretary Theresa May apologised for widespread delays in processing of passport applications in the House of Commons today (Wednesday, June 18).

She said the Government was doing all it could to deal with the unprecedented surge in demand.

Her apologies have done little to reassure Mr and Mrs Riley, who are due to fly out on Tuesday morning.

Mr Riley, 27, sent off his passport for renewal in April, expecting to receive it back in the standard three-week processing time.

Three weeks came and went and, when news broke of the passport crisis, dread set in.

“I got this terrible sinking feeling in my stomach,” said Mr Riley, a service and sales administrator.

“Right now, we should be excited about our holiday but, instead, we feel stressed and upset.”

Mr Riley first contacted Her Majesty's Passport Office on June 6 and, since then, he has made numerous calls, each time being promised a call-back that never happened.

He begged to pay extra for his application to be fast-tracked and even enlisted the help of Sedgefield MP, Phil Wilson.

Yesterday (Tuesday, June 17), with seven days to go, the Passport Office upgraded Mr Riley’s application for free, a measure it is now taking with all urgent cases.

A Passport Office spokesperson told The Northern Echo that staff were in contact with Mr Riley and - providing his application qualifies as urgent - his passport will be issued to meet his travel needs.

However, the couple, who paid for the £1,300 holiday using contributions from wedding guests and their own savings, have received no guarantees and remain in a state of panic.

Mrs Riley, 25, said: “I am very upset. This was not only our honeymoon; it was to be our first holiday abroad together.

“I understand there is a backlog, but the customer service has been terrible.”

Comments (7)

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7:19pm Wed 18 Jun 14

quakerste says...

Why do people leave it so late in renewing or applying for a new passport.

If you know it's due to expire or you are going abroad you should be applying 6 months earlier to prevent any issues.
Why do people leave it so late in renewing or applying for a new passport. If you know it's due to expire or you are going abroad you should be applying 6 months earlier to prevent any issues. quakerste
  • Score: 10

8:46pm Wed 18 Jun 14

DarloXman says...

quakerste wrote:
Why do people leave it so late in renewing or applying for a new passport.

If you know it's due to expire or you are going abroad you should be applying 6 months earlier to prevent any issues.
If the Passport Office quote a 3 week lead time they should make sure that they achieve that. Any private business would make plans as soon as they noticed an increase in their business - but the public sector just wait for the wheels to come off the wagon before they react!

I hope the passport arrives in time! Enjoy your honeymoon!
[quote][p][bold]quakerste[/bold] wrote: Why do people leave it so late in renewing or applying for a new passport. If you know it's due to expire or you are going abroad you should be applying 6 months earlier to prevent any issues.[/p][/quote]If the Passport Office quote a 3 week lead time they should make sure that they achieve that. Any private business would make plans as soon as they noticed an increase in their business - but the public sector just wait for the wheels to come off the wagon before they react! I hope the passport arrives in time! Enjoy your honeymoon! DarloXman
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Wed 18 Jun 14

joedarlo45 says...

I hope as well the passport arrives in time, but it states on every application form......do not book until you have your passport.......it's not rocket science...
I hope as well the passport arrives in time, but it states on every application form......do not book until you have your passport.......it's not rocket science... joedarlo45
  • Score: 21

6:35pm Thu 19 Jun 14

1234reader says...

We received our renewal passports yesterday and within the three week deadline.
We received our renewal passports yesterday and within the three week deadline. 1234reader
  • Score: 2

8:54pm Thu 19 Jun 14

BuddyB says...

D
D BuddyB
  • Score: 0

8:56pm Thu 19 Jun 14

onlinereader says...

While I hope he gets his passport on time, the application form clearly states do NOT book your holiday until you have received your passport.
While I hope he gets his passport on time, the application form clearly states do NOT book your holiday until you have received your passport. onlinereader
  • Score: 3

8:58pm Thu 19 Jun 14

BuddyB says...

Oh dear, what a woeful tale, I sympathise and so here is my offer... I'll swap you your tickets for two, yes TWO weeks at the paradise that is, the Blue Dolphin Holiday park!,I've checked and they'll accept you without a passport! No need to thank me (I'll even give you a lift)
Oh dear, what a woeful tale, I sympathise and so here is my offer... I'll swap you your tickets for two, yes TWO weeks at the paradise that is, the Blue Dolphin Holiday park!,I've checked and they'll accept you without a passport! No need to thank me (I'll even give you a lift) BuddyB
  • Score: 1

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