HC Deb 13 June 2002 vol 386 cc1421-2W
Mr. Tynan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures are in place to replace a lost or stolen passport in the event of an emergency; what circumstances would be considered an emergency; and what discretion can be applied by the Passport Office. [59706]

Beverley Hughes

On personal application being made at one of its seven passport offices, in an emergency the United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS) can replace a lost or stolen passport on the same day, or early the following day. The circumstances considered by the UKPS to be an emergency are:

—Compassionate grounds—where the applicant is travelling abroad because of the death or serious illness of a family member or friend; or for hospital treatment; and where travel has been arranged for the seriously ill, and their carers by charitable organisations.

—Urgent business travel which can be confirmed by a supporting company letter.

—Where the passport has been stolen within the last week and travel has already been booked and paid for. In such cases evidence such as a crime reference report or reference number is sought.

In all these circumstances the United Kingdom Passport Service will require time to complete the necessary identity and eligibility checks to confirm the issue of a replacement passport. If it is not possible in such circumstances to complete all these checks, a passport restricted to 12 months validity may be granted.

The same day (premium) service now available from UKPS public counters is not normally available for applications to replace lost, stolen, damaged or unavailable passports, as access to the original issue file and possible further identity checks may be required. The emergency exceptions to the normal policy are

Number of asylum seekers (including dependants) in each region as at the end of each quarter since December 20001,2
Region End of December 2000 End of March 2001 End of June 2001 End of September 2001 End of December 2001
East Midlands 900 1,390 1,800 2,630 3,720
East of England 470 1,030 1,370 1,580 2,010
Greater London 6,460 9,830 12,980 15,000 19,380
North East 2,440 3,240 4,100 4,380 4,840
North West 3,560 4,840 6,180 7,200 8,600
South Central 1,530 2,020 2,570 3,150 3,950
South West 530 630 740 880 1,010
West Midlands 1,490 2,360 3,900 5,640 7,450

therefore tightly drawn to ensure consistency of practice, and to maintain the integrity of the British Passport.