Passport delay threatens Newton Aycliffe couple's dream honeymoon (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Passport delay threatens Newton Aycliffe couple's dream honeymoon
7:00pm Wednesday 18th June 2014 in News
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.”
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