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Changes To British Passport Services In Thailand

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LETTER TO BRITISH COMMUNITY
CHANGES TO BRITISH PASSPORT SERVICES IN THAILAND
Her Majestys Passport Office is making important changes to the way it delivers British passports overseas. The goal is to ensure that all British nationals living overseas receive a consistent, trusted, secure and efficient service whilst keeping the costs as low as possible. In order to do that, on 10 December 2013, responsibility for handling passport applications in Thailand passed from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to Her Majestys Passport Office.

Following on from this, from 26 March 2014, British nationals in Thailand will submit passport applications, in person by appointment only, to the UK Visa Application Centre. All the information needed to complete the passport application process, including address and contact details for the UK Visa Application Centre, will be available on GOV.UK at https://www.gov.uk/overseas-passports

I know that this change will seem inconvenient, but the new measures being put in place support the wider public protection, helping to ensure that the risks of fraud and identity theft are minimised for those living and working overseas.

If you need to travel urgently but your passport is not available, you should still contact the nearest Consular Assistance team at the British Embassy Bangkok <deleted> In certain circumstances Consular staff may be able to issue an Emergency Travel Document but this is not a substitute for a full UK passport. So the best course of action is to apply as early as possible, and to make sure that you follow the new guidelines.

Please note that our Consular staff will not be able to take calls about individual passport applications and they cannot countersign passport applications. If you cannot find the information needed on GOV.UK you should contact the Passport Adviceline on +<deleted> (operates from 8am-8pm UK time) or e-mail: <deleted>

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Anyone know if I'd need a letter from the Embassy to certify my new passport. I'm going to Laos soon for a new visa old passports full so would need to stamp out on the the old one (just enough space) and enter Loas on the new one with the Loas visa inside.

Sent from my GT-P5100 using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

it depends upon which crossing you are going to use.

Immigration at the bridge in Nong Kai will send you back to the immigration office to do the stamps. It was recently posted by a member that a visa run company advised him that he needed to get the letter before making the trip because he needed it to get the stamps transferred.

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In my earlier post, I looked at the new procedures for Passport issuance throughout the ASEAN group

See post 140: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/713867-changes-to-british-passport-services-in-thailand/?p=7617364

All applications one way or the other go back to Liverpool where the passports will actually be made:

1) Singapore, Malaysia, Phillipines, Vietnam use on-line application then a postal forward of application documents to the UK - new passport returned to home address by courier.

2) Cambodia - postal application to the UK then collect from Embassy in Phnom Penh.

3) Burma, apply to Embassy, papers are forwarded to UK the couriered back to embassy for subsequent collect by holder.

4) Laos, Indonesia and Thailand apply to non governemnt agency, papers are forwarded to UK the couriered back to agent for subsequent collect by holder.

So all of these systems are open to document theft and copying, there is no suggestion that passports/application papers will be moved through secure UK Governement Channels.

I don't think given the disparate methods employed within ASEAN alone that ID theft is the driving issue, it seems far more random than that.

I cannot anyway see how the ersatz civil servants at VFS, for example, who will almost certainly not be British citizens could easily identify fake UK applicants; I am minded to think of the 19 year old Iranian guy on MH370 who was reported as travelling on a stolen passport of a 59 year old Austrian and walked through KL Airport security apparently without any challenge.

If the British were so concerned about ID theft then surely the best approach would be a system run by UK Staff based at individual countries' embassies.

Edited by digitalchromakey

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UK changes passport application rules to boost security
Alasdair Forbes

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Wanting to renew or replace your UK passport? You'll now have to go to Bangkok yourself, instead of just mailing documents.

PHUKET: -- With effect from Wednesday (March 26), British nationals in Thailand wanting to renew passports or replace lost or stolen ones must go to the Embassy in Bangkok in person, rather than mailing applications to HM Passport Office (HMPO) in Liverpool.

British Consul in Bangkok, Michael Hancock, explained to The Phuket News today, “The changes that have just been announced are a new service which has been introduced now that HMPO has taken over full responsibility for processing passport applications worldwide.

“There have been a number of changes as HMPO have taken over responsibility from the Foreign Office.”

Up until December last year applications had to be sent to the regional Passport Processing Centre in Hong Kong. When that was cancelled, they had to be sent direct to Liverpool instead.

Now, however, comes another change: applications must be made in person at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Bangkok which will then forward the application to the UK.

The new passport is returned from the UK to the VAC, from where it can be collected and the old passport cancelled.

Mr Hancock explained, “HMPO have said that these new measures are in place to protect the public and minimise the risk of fraud and identity theft.”

He added, “My understanding is that the timings remain the same as they have been for some time – four weeks for a renewal and six weeks for a first-time application or an application to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport.”

The information needed to complete the passport application process, including the address and contact details for the VAC, is available on the Gov.UK website.

Alternatively, applicants can call the Passport Advice line – in the UK – at +44 300 222 0000, between 8am and 8pm UK, or e-mail overseasNewportCCC@hmpo.gsi.gov.uk.

Source: http://www.thephuket...urity-45416.php

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-- Phuket News 2014-03-29

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I'm still trying to find out about proof of address?

Does anyone know for certain if you need a utility bill with your actual address or is a photocopy of your visa (entire passport) along with your current passport enough.

My problem is my bills are all in my landlords name.

If you don't know for certain don't answer me because all you do is confuse the issue

Look at the government website for supporting documents - then look at table A:-

PassportSupportingDocs.pdf

Table A

Identity, name and address evidence

All applicants must provide one document showing photo identity and one document as evidence of name and address dated within the last year.

Photo Evidence

Please provide one of the following:

• your British passport (if you are renewing)

• non-British uncancelled passport

• national identity card or equivalent (or colour photocopy)

• driving licence

• any government or local government produced document which includes a photograph as part of the document.

Name and address evidence

Please provide one of the following:

• visa or resident permit (or colour photocopy)

• tax record eg a letter from a tax authority

• educational record eg school report

• employment record eg official letter from your employer

• letter sent to you from a central, regional or local government department

• baptismal or naming certificate

• medical/health card

• voter’s card

• parents’ death certificates if applicable

• immigration documents.

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Further research show that currently VFS Global offer a Courier system from 'Trendy Offices' to send processed UK visa applications, documents and passports to your house.

So apparently no issues with ID theft if your passport isn't from the UK.

Applicants can choose to have their processed visa application, documents and passport couriered to their house or office by paying a nominal additional charge.

So it sems there is to be one rule for UK Nationals (potentially inconvenient, time-consuming and costly) then another rule for every other citizen of the world (affordable and convenient) !!

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Just to add more pain to the misery, don`t forget that Immigration no longer transfer an existing visa stamp to a new passport. The whole visa extension application process has to be completed all over again for the new passport, even if the visa stamp in the old passport is still valid.

My British passport is due for renewal in December this year, so it seems, Bangkok here I come. If only I had known about these changes before.

Immigration WILL transfer visa stamps to a new passport.

What they won't do is grant an extention beyond the expiry date of your passport - understandable.

Simple answer just make sure you have at least 12 months validity on your passport when going for an extension. You only ever get short-changed once and HMPO will add up to 9 months unexpired term to the new passport.

Immigration does not transfer visas. If you have a valid visa you must use both passports on entry until the visa expires,

They will only do an annotation of a visa entry and then move the most recent entry or an extension of stay to the new passport.

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^ Which IS a security issue. An expiring passport that is not canceled until the replacement has been received means that there is an undefined and uncontrolled period where there are two, same-name, totally legal and valid passports circulating. This is a security risk and an opening for passport fraud.

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What concerns me is method of payment. As I dot not have a UK. credit or debit card as the UK. bank will not send them to me in thailand, however I do have a Bangkok Bank visa debit card will that be accepted. I have e-mailed the VFS. helpline so maybe they will reply.

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Am i reading this thread correctly or is this a April fools joke.

The last time i applied for a British passport in the UK, i completed the form and sent the relevant documents with the money for

72 pound? By first class mail to my nearest passport office in the north of England,a couple of weeks later i received my passport by first class mail.As far as i know this is still the same procedure for a British citizen in the UK.

Now am i right in saying that a British citizen living for example in northern Thailand who wants to apply for a British passport must complete the same form,then email this VFS for an appointment,then travel on a possible 12 hour overnight bus journey,in order to be on time for your appointment,then be told you have to pay a lot more passport fee than you have to pay in the UK plus the DHL courier fee,plus a hotel for the night,then travel on another 12 hour journey the following morning back to north Thailand.

In the meantime this VFS firm send your application details to the same passport office that processed your passport application

When you applied in the UK.

Then after a month if you are lucky, you will receive an email saying your passport is ready and to collect it at the Bangkok office of VFS making you possible go through the rigmarole and expense of another two 12 hour journeys plus another overnight stay in a hotel. Then you still have to convince them that you are you.

If this is the best that the British (job for the boys lot) can come up with,well its nothing but discrimination against a British citizen in Thailand

Make sure you book a hotel with a swimming pool. There's not much difference in price.

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I've just submitted an application for a first passport for my child born in Thailand at the Trendy Tower (28th floor).

For my proof of address they seemed happy to take a bank statement from a UK bank account with my Thai address on. Will see if its accepted at the other end!

They kept all the supporting documents such as birth certificates (but not parents passports) to send with the application (I presume).

When you arrive at the office, you still have to take a number and wait your turn. I think the appointment time is just a rough idea of when to go.

I had a print out of my email but you could easily make an appointment email in Word and print it out. No one seemed to check my name with any schedule of appointments.

The office is packed with non-Brits making applications for UK visas (I presume) and it was standing room only but I was seen within a few minutes of arrival.

You can take your phone in but cannot take it out of your pocket while inside.

There is also a passport photo machine and photocopier inside the room too incase you need to make a quick copy but there were queues for it.

There are coffee shops and a bar on the ground floor if you need refreshments.

Hopefully it will all go through ok and we will have a new passport in a few weeks/months.

Good luck!

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Received this a few minutes ago from a colleague who travelled up from Pattaya today:

"Just tried to apply for 2nd uk passport in bkk...what a waste of time...they couldn't find the new forms,only for renewals and just told me to phone Liverpool!!!feel like banging my head off the wall...off to soi nana for beers!!!"

He's not a TVF member and I post this as an example. Don't know if anyone else has tried to apply for a second passport at VFS yet?

Interesting point.

On both following the HMPO Website chain of clicks plus searching, there is absolutely no information at all on second passport application procedures, either for the UK or overseas.

Maybe this is something they have quietly stopped doing to save money.

Guess the first port of call would be Overseas Newport email address below:

Overseas Newport CCC <overseasNewportCCC@hmpo.gsi.gov.uk>

According to a post in this thread by Transam there is a HMPO UK help line at the moment that is not charging premium rates, maybe that's also worth a quick call.

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Thanks folks, a few ideas there. Seems like I might be able to switch nationalities if I fly out, but won't be able to do so at a land border.

The central issue seems to be that there's no way to know whether my existing UK passport has already been cancelled.

At least, no way other than by trying to use it to fly somewhere.

Can anyone tell me what the worst case scenario would be if I tried to use a cancelled UK passport to board a cheap local international flight?

If it's just a polite "sorry, cannot", and a taxi home, then I think it's worth the gamble.

But if the worst case scenario involves immigration police and being thrown in jail, then it's probably not!

You have submitted the application ?.....they have taken the money ?......your existing PP has been cancelled

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