• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 11:29pm
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'I'm waiting ...' Woman launches countdown website to track delays in British passport office

Hong Kong applicant launches website to track progress and highlight backlog

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 August, 2014, 8:54pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 August, 2014, 5:05pm
 

Lengthy delays to British passport renewals this year have not stopped Hong Kong-born Laura Ma Yanyi from applying - and embarking on a novel experiment that, if it backfires, could leave her unable to travel for quite some time.

Ma, 26, has set up the website hasmypassportarrived.com to share her experience and track the amount of time it takes to receive her documents.

"The thinking behind the website is to boost awareness of the backlog," said Ma, who submitted her application on August 1, the start date for the website timer.

Ma holds three passports - she became a naturalised British citizen in 1988 and has lived in Canada - yet all are required by the UK as part of the renewal process. "It means I will have no travel documents whatsoever for as long as it takes for them to process everything," she said.

She is urging others who are waiting on the UK government's passport office to participate in the website.

"While the website will tell the story of one passport, everything that's shareable on the website, we will share.

"We've got options where you can track the actual passport application on the UK passport website and through the parcel delivery system."

Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO) is handling 343,890 domestic and overseas passport applications, according to the latest official figures.

The British government blames its backlog on a summer surge in applications for new passports.

Delays escalated after a switch from a locally based passport-issuing system at the British consulate to one based in Liverpool.

Union workers at HMPO went on strike last week to protest against years of staff and pay cuts, plus extra work in handling overseas passport applications.

Many Hong Kong-based British nationals and holders of British National (Overseas) passports have been hit by the backlog. The time to renew passports from Hong Kong was extended from four to six weeks to 12 to 16 weeks.

"It's definitely not convenient but if you need you renew it, you have to do it," said Ma.

Ma was born in Hong Kong in 1988, and at age four became a naturalised British citizen. She moved with her family to Canada aged seven.

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This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
Congratulations to courageous Ms Laura Ma !.
.
Every day I take my morning walk up Justice Drive and then turn right along Supreme Court Road to HK Park (where illegal parking is tolerated day and night)
.
Every day I walk past the UK consulate and see their stupid advertisements about GREAT BRITAIN : Great culture, Great innovation , great this .. great B S that
.
Great F**K up re passports. !
.
My wife is in between PRC national and and HK PR status so she only has a temporary green HK green Certificate of Identity
I am a UK National.
Weirdly I had to pay over HK$1,000 to get her a UK visa last year via the HK - UK Consulate (how much is the the UK Consul's home rent per month ? HK$800,000 ? )
.
And it took me over 3 hours to fill out the visa application form on line in meticulous detail (much worse than my recent Indian visa application , which I thought was ridiculous to the extreme )
But I easily got my wife a EEU Schengen visa via Germany FOR FREE even though her HK Certificate of Identity mystified German Immigration control !
UK sucks, and how !
Good luck Scotland !
pure88
Are you kidding? Reeks of spoilt kid. She should be thankful she has this problem! Fine. Give up your British and Canadian passports and you won't have to deal with those governments!!
timliu01@hotmail.com
She SHOULD give up her British Nationality and live her life as Canadian Chinese. A passport is not a travel document!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ngsw
A very strange British rule. They have to mail other passports e.g. HKSAR, to Britain while renewing a BC. They have to lie with unknown consequences to evade this absurd rule.
zvichadashote
I would think by now this young lady could get a Canadian passport and solve her countdown issue. Besides, who would want a British passport when you have an idiot Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg?
sipsip1238
I'm waiting....well continue waiting.
Dao-Phooy
Why not travel to UK and apply in person if you can afford a cheap air ticket? I don't see how your experiment actually helps anybody renewing a UK passport.
sunnymedina
I don't understand? Why can't she travel on her HK SAR or Canadian passport?
andreaswagner
I applied for a second passport. So I am never without a travel document when one of them needs renewal. Common sense actually. Seems that is a scarce commodity nowadays:)
timliu01@hotmail.com
I wish Scotland very best of luck next month, but I doubt if luck can do anything in the referendum where independent Scotland has no chance to win. Don't forget that when you criticize the UK, you are also criticizing Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If I were you, I will give up the UK citizenship, rather than being *ucked and *ucked by it.

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