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In February of this year, we reported how changes to procedures for British residents living overseas to renew their passports must now be made via the GOV.UK website, by submitting the application online at www.gov.uk/overseas-passports, aimed at reducing the “possibility of making errors that can delay applications”.

But, at the time, many people noted the extortionate cost in doing so, considering that the applications would be processed in the same place as those in the UK, with oversees residents paying way over the odds for the privilege.

According to the U.K. Government´s website, within the U.K., a standard adult first passport or renewal costs £72.50, or £81.25 if you use the Post Office’s Passport Check & Send service. Whereas for oversees residents, who would be sending their application to the same office in the U.K., a standard adult first passport or renewal cost £128.00, or £147.86 including courier fee.

The acceptance of an extra fee for the approved and registered courier service seemed fair and above board, but quite why the process faced an additional £55 excess was largely unexplained, with many applicants considering that it would work out far cheaper for them to fly back to the U.K. and complete the process manually.

However, it appears that the U.K. Government has done a u-turn on the process, but for a change, one which will actually benefit those involved, as the Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, issued a statement via their website, claiming how the fee will be reduced, as “Her Majesty’s Passport Office is committed to delivering better value for money for our customers”.

The statement read, “In keeping with this commitment, I am pleased to announce that from 7 April the passport fee for customers applying for a UK passport overseas will be reduced by £45 for adults and £28.50 for children. The new fees are as follows: Adult 32 page passport £83.00 Child 32 page passport £53.00 Jumbo 48 page passport £91.00 (Child and Adult).

“This reduction comes as a result of efficiency savings made over the last 3 years by bringing back the processing and issuing of overseas passports to the UK, whilst maintaining the highest levels of security and customer service.”

Although oversees applicants will still have to follow the on-line process, the £45 reduction is far more welcoming, albeit still not in line with U.K. based applications, the additional £10 is far more acceptable for the creation of the personalised pack that must be printed, signed and sent with photographs and any additional documentation that may be required to the Passport Office in the UK.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43001/

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