Desperate holidaymakers queue for hours at Liverpool Passport Office
Holidaymakers are travelling hours and face 'nightmare' queues to get a passport in Liverpool, putting their travel plans at risk.
People waiting for appointments at the Passport Office on Old Hall Street were seen queuing since it opened its doors open at 9 am.
The government has seen an unprecedented surge in applications as five million delayed applying for a new passport during the pandemic. The huge backlog means people are struggling to get a passport in time for their travels.
Those who urgently need a new passport can make an appointment to visit their local office to have one issued.
There are just seven Passport Customer Service Centres in the UK, with the north west's being located in Liverpool.
Ellie Smith had got up at 6am and travelled four hours from Newcastle to get a passport for her holiday to Greece. She was told to come to the Liverpool passport office but hadn’t been seen, despite arriving when it opened at 9am.
Chloe Dyer, who travelled from South Yorkshire, is meant to be flying to Greece. If she cannot get a passport, she will lose the money she has paid for the holiday.
Chloe said: “We’ve had a hard time as a family recently and I’m worried we won’t get our holiday. It’s my kids I feel for.
"I think people upstairs won’t come down to speak to us because they don’t want to face what is waiting for them down here."
Others waiting said they had been told stories about loved ones who had been unable to see dying relatives because of the delays.
The fast-track service to get a new passport costs £142 with people travelling from all over the country to get an appointment.
Lydia Hodgson, 24, from Liverpool, said her passport had been mistakenly reported as lost or stolen. She had travelled from Manchester to Paris to Luton within 24 hours and had spent around £2,000.
Lydia said: "I’d basically go anywhere to get an appointment at this point. I’d travel to Glasgow in a heartbeat if an appointment became available."
A HM Passport Office spokesperson said:
"Since April 2021, we have been advising people to allow up to ten weeks when applying for their British passport as more than 5 million people delayed applying due to the pandemic.
We urge people who need a new passport to apply for one as soon as possible, with the vast majority of all passports applications are being dealt with well within 10 weeks.
"To deal with this demand, we have increased staff numbers by 500 since April 2021.
This has helped us to handle more applications than ever before, with more than one million passport applications processed in March 2022."
"The passport advice line is being delivered by Teleperformance which is in the process of recruiting additional staff to better service customer queries."