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Possible overstay due to passport renewal delay


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6 hours ago, sandyf said:

This is all the fault of the UK government, they should have allowed direct applications to the passport office by courier with countersigned photo, as that effectively is all that VFS do.

Indeed, that is how the passport renewal process from Thailand effectively operated until 2014 when the dreaded With-It Tower Passport Renewal Experience was abruptly imposed on us with zero justification or explanation:-

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-to-british-passport-services-in-thailand-2

 

 

Edited by OJAS
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ukgov / passport website says somewhere that the Local Service Agent (VFS) method was applied to Thailand “to prevent fraud”. However the system itself is flawed & open to fraud by centralizing in one city and allowing Agents to visit & present to VFS !

 

If you cant get to Bangkok you cant travel abroad so dont need a Passport Renewal then .

Oh right you need it for your New Longstay Visa/ Extn even though you never leave Thailand.

Get Permanent Residency Then ! TIT. Agree HMPO should dispense with VFS and allow direct applicant online / postal applications.

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2 hours ago, WhiteBuffaloATM said:

Agree HMPO should dispense with VFS and allow direct applicant online / postal applications.

I tend to agree. However, if such a change was instituted:

  • address verification would need to become really strict (currently, the HMPO is fairly relaxed on this requirement); and
  • the direct application might only be safe from fraud in the case of visa renewals where the applicant is demonstrating possession of a previous UK passport. In the case of lost, seriously damaged or first passports, there would probably need to be a way to validate the applicant (such as application through the embassy that was used before processing switching to Hong Kong, and later via VFS to the UK).
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brittim: validation of applicant is already done within the ukgov app. form & enclosures. address & delivery problems all solved by closed delivery system, instead of VPS / Agents, using uk govt. nominated courier companies to accept / check app.pkg directly from applicant and deliver / validate receiving applicant for new passport. 

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12 hours ago, WhiteBuffaloATM said:

ukgov / passport website says somewhere that the Local Service Agent (VFS) method was applied to Thailand “to prevent fraud”. However the system itself is flawed & open to fraud by centralizing in one city and allowing Agents to visit & present to VFS !

In any case, "fraud" resulting from the loss or theft of passports here in Thailand is, I strongly suspect, principally the result of carelessness and negligence displayed by a number of tourists who, in all probability, were not required to subject themselves to a cumbersome and bureaucratic process along the lines of the With-It Tower Passport Renewal Experience in obtaining their passports back in the UK- which, as a result of their careless and negligent actions in Thailand, then got lost or stolen! IMHO it is totally unacceptable for HMPO to tar us long-stay non-immigrants - who, I suspect, are usually rather more careful in the handling of our passports - with the same brush as these careless and negligent tourists in determining the passport renewal procedures which are to apply across the board from Thailand - particularly since these careless and negligent tourists are, I suspect, far more likely, in any event, to apply for an Emergency Travel Document from the Embassy to enable them to travel back to the UK, rather than attempting to replace their lost or stolen passports from Thailand.

 

Edited by OJAS
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ojas: interesting point. hadnt considered the dumb tourist “driver “ of the LSA / VFS system here……

perhaps also they are negligent in reporting the loss to ukgov……with the lost / stolen passports getting used in fraudulent transactions, in conjunction with linked credit cards, etc.

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16 minutes ago, WhiteBuffaloATM said:

ojas: interesting point. hadnt considered the dumb tourist “driver “ of the LSA / VFS system here……

perhaps also they are negligent in reporting the loss to ukgov……with the lost / stolen passports getting used in fraudulent transactions, in conjunction with linked credit cards, etc.

One of the reasons mentioned back when they first started doing them at VFS was people not cutting the corners off the old passport after they received the new one by courier. Some people were using the old and new passport here and some people trashed them without damaging them.

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thanks ujoe but wouldn’t those mishandlings occur uniformly worldwide ?

wonder then why resident brits here were offending so badly to bring in VFS. 

must have been other factors perhaps like thailand blacklisted by US / EU as offshore money laundering centre……..

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48 minutes ago, WhiteBuffaloATM said:

thanks ujoe but wouldn’t those mishandlings occur uniformly worldwide ?

wonder then why resident brits here were offending so badly to bring in VFS. 

must have been other factors perhaps like thailand blacklisted by US / EU as offshore money laundering centre……..

It is really irrelevant at this time since since they started doing them at VFS years ago.

One of primary reasons given was that people need to always have their passports here in Thailand. The UK was changing over to online applications and it requires both passport to be sent with the application.

No other factors came into it.

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3 hours ago, ubonjoe said:

One of the reasons mentioned back when they first started doing them at VFS was people not cutting the corners off the old passport after they received the new one by courier. Some people were using the old and new passport here and some people trashed them without damaging them.

Speculative rumor. In March 2014 overseas passports were moved from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Home Office, the same regime that had already put VFS in place.

The outcome was ridiculous but inevitable.

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3 hours ago, ubonjoe said:

One of the reasons mentioned back when they first started doing them at VFS was people not cutting the corners off the old passport after they received the new one by courier. Some people were using the old and new passport here and some people trashed them without damaging them.

 

That is limp but it did actually happen to me (I later used the old passport, as a test, to cross into Cambodia).

 

Since then I believe that VfS routinely snip off the corner of the old passport (presented for ID at collection) before handing over the new package.

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18 hours ago, hotandsticky said:

 

Absolutely nothing to do with the British embassy.

Of course it has. The embassy is not involved with passport applications but someone with a passport problem is an embassy problem.

I know from personal experience that they will intervene if there is a problem with a passport application.

In another issue I had a standoff with VFS over my wife's visa for Canada and I threatened to report VFS to the British Embassy and suddenly the matter was resolved.

I am no great fan but they can serve a purpose.

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no. embassy business has (absolutely)nothing to do with passport applications. embassy provides Visas in Passports & Emergency Travel Doc. if Passport not available, for a specific intl. journey,one time to UK only.

 

 

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6 hours ago, sandyf said:

Of course it has. The embassy is not involved with passport applications but someone with a passport problem is an embassy problem.

I know from personal experience that they will intervene if there is a problem with a passport application.

In another issue I had a standoff with VFS over my wife's visa for Canada and I threatened to report VFS to the British Embassy and suddenly the matter was resolved.

I am no great fan but they can serve a purpose.

 

No they can't.

 

They cannot get involved in what is a 'norma' application. Any delays were down to tardiness of the applicant.

 

The embassy can get involved with an emergency passport.

 

The embassy DO NOY get involved in UK Visa applications either - you flatter them. VfS are accountable to the Home Office/UKPO.

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17 hours ago, hotandsticky said:

No they can't.

 

They cannot get involved in what is a 'norma' application. Any delays were down to tardiness of the applicant.

I am not going to post the exchanges that took place, sufficient to say you do not know what you are talking about.

You should think twice before calling someone a liar.

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On 9/11/2021 at 12:01 PM, WhaleBomb said:

So my visa expires on 16th and passport also expires on 16th. 

 

It will be the end of my ED visa, so I will be changing it to the 60 day covid extension.

 

Will I still be able to do this with my old passport?

 

No, you can't extend any visa beyond the expiry date of your passport.

 

You will be on overstay and have to pay the fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/11/2021 at 11:55 AM, ubonjoe said:

A recent report stated it took 7 weeks to get his new one. The website for applications is now stating 11 weeks.

You could use your old passport to apply for a extension. It is still valid to use to apply for a extension.

 

only if passport is not out of date .....

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On 9/13/2021 at 9:39 AM, Ginkas said:

The final sentence of para 103 from this 2014 report caught my eye in particular:-

 

The Government should offer expatriates ... the possibility of keeping their passport while waiting for a new one to be issued, by submitting a certified copy of the passport instead.

 

Whilst we are required to submit colour copies of each page in our current passport, regardless of whether or not they contain visas or stamps, as part of the With-It Tower Passport Renewal Experience, these do not need to be certified. So presumably HMPO subsequently decided in their infinite wisdom not to proceed with this particular suggestion - which, had it been implemented, might have spared us the rigours of the current renewal system from Thailand - although this would, of course, depend on specific certification requirements (which presumably would likely entail rather more bureaucratic than the applicant's signature and date on each page in accordance with the Immigration Bureau's requirement here in Thailand!).

Edited by OJAS
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On 9/12/2021 at 8:41 PM, hotandsticky said:

 

No they can't.

 

They cannot get involved in what is a 'norma' application. Any delays were down to tardiness of the applicant.

 

The embassy can get involved with an emergency passport.

 

The embassy DO NOY get involved in UK Visa applications either - you flatter them. VfS are accountable to the Home Office/UKPO.

The Embassy are only prepared to get involved with an emergency passport where an imminent plan for a one-way trip back to the UK exists on the part of an applicant whose passport has been lost or stolen during their stay in Thailand. They are most certainly not prepared to issue emergency passports to those who are at risk of having their existing passports expire as a result of the VFS renewal service being arbitrarily suspended, as, for example, occurred last year when HMPO ordered the closure of their Bangkok and Chiang Mai offices for several weeks on spurious COVID-19 grounds. The only advice which the Embassy could give me when I raised this matter with them at the time was for those with expired passports when their next annual extension of stay application was due to, in effect, go on bended knees in front of an officer at their local immigration office and plead for a fresh extension to be granted nonetheless! How absolutely pathetic was that!!

Edited by OJAS
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On 9/13/2021 at 2:44 PM, sandyf said:

I am not going to post the exchanges that took place, sufficient to say you do not know what you are talking about.

You should think twice before calling someone a liar.

I strongly suspect that you found the Embassy rather more prepared to be helpful in the case of your passport predicament back in 2014 (which, of course, was around the same time as the dreaded With-It Tower Passport Renewal Experience was abruptly inflicted on us) than they would these days, based on my recent dealings with them as reported in my reply to @hotandstickyabove.

 

IMHO your ire would be more appropriately directed towards Her Majesty's Government as a whole, whose collective aim has, since 2014, appeared to be to make life as difficult as is humanly possible for us expat retirees here in Thailand - in fulfilling which aim they have, of course, been eagerly aided and abetted by their Thai counterparts.

 

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Just thought I would give a quick update.

 

So my passport arrived in Bangkok yesterday (wednesday) and they emailed me at 4:10pm to say I can collect. The issue is they only allow collection between 2-3pm, and are only open monday, wednesday, and friday.

Because they will not send my passport out to me, I have to use an agent to collect my passport and then post it to me in Phang Nga on Friday evening. So I will be recieving my passport monday or tuesday.

 

I find it rediculous that they can not just post the passport directly to me, why do I have to use a third party first. I would have had my passport tomorrow. Now it looks like im going to be paying 2500-3000 baht fine for overstay. What an awful system the whole passport renewal is for UK citizens.

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20 minutes ago, WhaleBomb said:

Just thought I would give a quick update.

 

So my passport arrived in Bangkok yesterday (wednesday) and they emailed me at 4:10pm to say I can collect. The issue is they only allow collection between 2-3pm, and are only open monday, wednesday, and friday.

Because they will not send my passport out to me, I have to use an agent to collect my passport and then post it to me in Phang Nga on Friday evening. So I will be recieving my passport monday or tuesday.

 

I find it rediculous that they can not just post the passport directly to me, why do I have to use a third party first. I would have had my passport tomorrow. Now it looks like im going to be paying 2500-3000 baht fine for overstay. What an awful system the whole passport renewal is for UK citizens.

I renewed my UK passport earlier this year. I made the application 4 months before my extension expired and 9 months before my passport expired. I received it 7 weeks after the application date. I also used an agent.

 

Being aware of the potential for delays I decided to plan ahead...............

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30 minutes ago, dabhand said:

I renewed my UK passport earlier this year. I made the application 4 months before my extension expired and 9 months before my passport expired. I received it 7 weeks after the application date. I also used an agent.

 

Being aware of the potential for delays I decided to plan ahead...............

My Original appointment was 10 weeks before expiry, it was cancelled twice due to covid. I just wish they allowed us to post directly to the UK or just complete and online application form.

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On 9/16/2021 at 4:32 PM, WhaleBomb said:

My Original appointment was 10 weeks before expiry, it was cancelled twice due to covid. I just wish they allowed us to post directly to the UK or just complete and online application form.

Your experience is IMHO a typical example of how the dreaded With-It Tower Passport Renewal Experience is, in practice, being operated purely for the convenience of VFS and their HMPO masters back in the UK, with zero regard to the convenience of those actually needing replacement passports - unless they live in 1 of the residential units in With-It Tower perhaps!

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On 9/16/2021 at 1:48 AM, OJAS said:

IMHO your ire would be more appropriately directed towards Her Majesty's Government as a whole, whose collective aim has, since 2014, appeared to be to make life as difficult as is humanly possible for us expat retirees here in Thailand - in fulfilling which aim they have, of course, been eagerly aided and abetted by their Thai counterparts.

 

Yoy are quite entitled to take whatever view you want. Passports were transferred to the "Home" office and they are exactly that, they have little interest in people that live abroad.

At the end of the day someone in a foreign country without a valid passport is an embassy problem, and there is no harm in reminding them of that.

 

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6 hours ago, sandyf said:

Yoy are quite entitled to take whatever view you want. Passports were transferred to the "Home" office and they are exactly that, they have little interest in people that live abroad.

At the end of the day someone in a foreign country without a valid passport is an embassy problem, and there is no harm in reminding them of that.

 

As I recall, the decision to transfer the responsibility for issuing new passports from the FCO (now FCDO) to the Home Office was taken at the behest of the Cabinet Office (who have overall responsibility for machinery of government issues) 10 years ago, principally on cost saving grounds. But the big mystery as far as I am concerned is why a transfer of intra-governmental responsibilities was felt to be necessary in order to achieve these cost savings. How come it was not considered possible for them to be achieved through leaving the passport-issuing responsibility in situ with the FCO/FCDO?

 

I agree with you that Brits in foreign countries without a valid passport SHOULD BE an Embassy problem. But, as my recent-ish experience has, I think, graphically illustrated, this is, unfortunately, a problem which they are all too willing to wash their hands of these days. However, I don't think that it would be right to lay the blame for this completely unsatisfactory state of affairs solely at the Embassy's door: IMHO the blame more appropriately lies at the door of their FCDO masters back in Whitehall - who, in turn, are acting under orders from the Cabinet Office in the overall machinery of government context.

 

The sad reality is that the concept of "joined-up government", which was being championed by Tony Blair and others 20 years ago, is, to all intents and purposes, now completely dead in the water, with each constituent part of Her Majesty's Government now being instructed to confine its activities to matters which fall within the jurisdiction of its particular silo, with blinkers firmly fixed so as to avoid any "undesirable" sideways glances.

 

Edited by OJAS
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