UK reveals changes to passport services for overseas citizens
By Joseph Yeh , The China Post
December 11, 2013, 12:30 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- All British nationals in Taiwan now needs to submit their passport application to Her Majesty's Passport Office in the United Kingdom as part of the British government's ongoing changes on passport services for British nationals living overseas, the de facto UK embassy in Taiwan said yesterday.
The latest policy change follows reviews by the National Audit Office and is designed to achieve economies of scale, greater security and consistency in decision making, the British Trade & Cultural Office (BTCO) said yesterday. The latest policy took effect on Dec. 9.
Previously, British nationals living in Taiwan submitted passport applications to a regional processing hub in Hong Kong. From Dec. 9, information on the UK government website advises British nationals on the new passport application process, the BTCO said in a statement.
All British passports have enhanced security features designed to reduce the likelihood of identity theft and passport fraud, it added.
All the information required to make an application will be found at https://www.gov.uk/overseas-passports. Applicants will be required to send their applications to the Passport Customer Service Centre in Liverpool, BTCO said.
There will be no change to processing times. Meanwhile, fees charged to British nationals applying overseas are based on the current costs of providing the service, it said.
The BTCO said as overseas volumes are much less than UK volumes, it is harder to maintain efficiency overseas. That is why the UK government has made the decision to repatriate the issuing of passports to British nationals overseas back to the UK.
The latest announcement does not target at Taiwan only. British nationals in other countries, including Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, that previously submitted passport applications to Hong Kong's regional processing hub, now also need to make the application to the UK, BTCO said.