Passport backlog at British Consulate Düsseldorf - Germany

Long processing times for British passports

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skiing_scotsman
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I sent my passport for renewal around four weeks ago.

The "normal" processing time is supposed to be around ten working days excluding shipping.

I contacted them by email after four weeks and they informed me that they have been having IT problems which have lead to an "enormous backlog of applications" and that they had not started processing mine yet.

They did pull my application out of the pile to try and get it to me in time for the wedding I need to attend this weekend, but it's going to be touch and go.

So if you need to get your passport renewed, this is not a good time.
YorkshireLad6
There never is a "good time" at the passport office in Düsseldorf. I've heard every excuse under the sun from them for delays in processing passports but after you contact them they seem to be magically able to get you to the top of the pile and process it quickly. The did announce likely processing delays for w/c 4th May, but it's now two weeks later so no real excuse. Their premium rate enquiry number to find out any information costs €1.79/minute so even contacting them is not cheap. Last time I had a passport renewal there the cost of the passport actually increased between my submitting the forms and them being processed, so they called to tell me it would cost more. When I asked why the charge was higher they mumbled about the prices being tied to the £/€ exchange rate, but this was at a time when sterling was weakening so they should have got cheaper!
I suspect, at the end of the day there is only a small staff handling a lot of work - the folks in Düsseldorf now process passport applications enquiries from Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Slovenia which will be quite a few ex-pats.

If you DO need your passport urgently and they are ready to dispatch it, they'll surely tell you that the post is slow and might delay it further but they can recommend a courier firm around the corner from them who will get it to Munich overnight for a paltry €40
janem87
I sent mine about two weeks ago, but now am worried that it won't get to me before the trip I have to leave on the 28th. What is the exact number that you contacted to ask them to expedite your passport?
YorkshireLad6
A the process management of passport applications is outsourced to a company called Abtran For passport enquiries in Germany they can be reached on 0900 1700 661. Calls cost €1.79 cent per minute from landlines and approx €1.99 cent from mobiles. There is a normal rate number which will get you direct into the Consulate: 0211 9448 226 but you will often find they will refer you back to Abtran. You can lso email Abtran at ukpassportservicegermany@abtran.com or the Consulate at Consular.Section.Duesseldorf@fco.gov.uk
hughk
British Expats may care to note that the UK passport is now one of the most expensive to renew in the world. If you are an expat. It seems that Mr Brown decided a while back that the FCO should attempt to recover costs where possible from non-UK tax payers even if it could be said to be counter to EU rules.

At some point, they are going to start fingerprinting, biometrics phase II and then it is due to get even more expensive and will need a visit to some organisation to have the fingerprints. Probably it will end up with one of the mobs thats been handling UK Visas like CSC.
AncientBrit
Do those whose passports are with the Consulate for weeks/months on end go around showing a photocopy of the passport whenever proof of identity is required? Any problems experienced with this?
swimmer
British Expats may care to note that the UK passport is now one of the most expensive to renew in the world.
It's not much of a help to anyone already here but the best thing to do is to probably renew your passport before leaving, no matter if you have quite a lot of time left on the old one. The new one runs through to the end of your current one plus 9 year 9 months (ie. you don't just buy another 10 years). So you only "lose" 3 months, hedge future price rises, get the uptodate technology (if you want it, but miss out on new developments) and don't have to bother renewing for another ten years. One of the saner things I did before coming here .
Guy
I posted my application to Düsseldorf on 2nd January and got the new one back 4 days later, nearly fell over with the surprise. Admittedly this was 3 years ago, but it looks like that is a good time to renew. The fact that you can apply up to 9 months in advance means it's reasonably easy to plan in, although of course not everybody will be able to go for January.
theFonz
I've been deemed a frequent passport loser by the consulate (twice in 4 years) and had many a run in with the embassy in Berlin and Dusseldorf. Last time my grandfather died and i needed to go back to the UK within two weeks, i sent everything off, told it was lost, then assured by someone high up he would personally sort it out within 5 working days. 4 days later i had no response, they told me they needed different photos, i sent them on the 4th day, day 7 they i called to be told they hadn't been received and neither had the money. day 8 i went mental and they suddenly found the money and told me they would use my old photos. That was a friday and i was flying on Monday. they said the passport would be done and sent in the post Fri night. I called at 4 to be told they were closed, finally got through to someone who sad he had my passport in his hand but the post had gone so he wouldn't send it. i asked about the courier only to be told it was his weekend now. I ended up going down there on the Monday and picking it up. (4 hours on the train later i received my passport with a smile (after being nearly strip searched) and then i was told i had to pay 178euros, which was 30 euros higher than quoted - again this was from the currency fluctuation ( i work in finance and explained that sterling was at its lowest against the euro ever) only to be told i was wrong. (I then went to the airport and was greeted by being told the plane was delayed and it had to be diverted back to Berlin before going to the UK!)

Ive had so many arguments with them about me not having a passport whilst they process them and all ive been told to do is contact my local MP (they couldn't answer the question as to who was the local MP for Berlin though ). After so many stupid arguments over this i asked the consulate general how they lived in Germany, did they carry their passport around with them the whole time? Only to be told that no, seen as though they worked for the FCO they actually got German ID cards! (as English nationals!).

Oh and the premium number is routed through to Ireland of all places, I think i might have a couple of direct numbers for the consulate so I'll post them on here if other TT'ers would find a use for them?
theFonz
oh.. and for the ear bashing i may be about to receive for not processing my documents quicker, im a male, in my twenties and far too irresponsible to think of things in advance But don't worry ive learned my lesson and thank you for your wonderful advice as always
sluzup
Ive had so many arguments with them about me not having a passport whilst they process them and all ive been told to do is contact my local MP (they couldn't answer the question as to who was the local MP for Berlin though ).
You are still entitled to vote in the UK, at the last place where you were on the electoral register, so you do still have an MP.
Guy
He might be, but after you've been out of the UK for 15 years you lose your right to vote, so you won't have a local MP.
Oblomov
How does an authority that provides essential services like issuing passports get away with having a premium hotline like a phone sex provider?
theFonz
unfortunately with the occupation of a certain Mr Brown, my faith in the Uk voting structure has somewhat declined in previous years. I think that if the government want to give us ID cards they will. A while back I looked into it a little and as far as I can see, UK expats will be the last in a long line of sorts to get a card, right after Crackheads and Amy Winehouse, sorry Crackheads in General.
koala
It's not much of a help to anyone already here but the best thing to do is to probably renew your passport before leaving, no matter if you have quite a lot of time left on the old one.
Good idea - but if, like me, you've been here eleven years this is not an option. Mine needs renewing again. Last time, ten years ago, the process was pretty painless (except for the eurocheque I had to scare up to pay for it) and they got it back to me within about three weeks. But, judging from the complaints I've heard from various sources, service appears to have gone downhill since then!
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