Four weeks ago, I notified the FCO that I had lost one of my passports, number 705*******.
I wrote a letter explaining, and making it clear that I still had 1 passport, 761******* containing a work visa and that I needed it every week for work so could not send it to the Passport Office, instead following their instructions, I enclosed photocopies of every page of my valid passport. So, it was clear. I had called Passport Office, taken advice from ‘Mark’ and followed that advice to the letter.
On returning from Moscow through Eindhoven last Sunday I was prevented from entering the Netherlands, arrested and walked through a hall of 300 people pointing and taking my photo – my valid passport had been cancelled by the Passport Office on the instruction of the Foreign Office.
On receipt of a form asking to cancel lost passport number 705xxxxxx and a letter explaining that I needed my passport 7612xxxxxx the FCO decided to cancel my legal valid passport containing my work visa. And – of course – they did not tell me that they were going to do it nor that they had done it.
After a considerable time I managed to persuade the Dutch authorities to allow me to continue home after showing them the scanned copies of all the relevant documents. I received no help at all – not even a telephone call- from the FCO, or any Consulate – it was Sunday after all and as we know British people do not travel on a Sunday so there would be no need for FCO staff to work.
What has UK Gov done since?
Nothing. They very kindly ‘offered’ me the opportunity to apply again for the passport that was wrongly cancelled. Apparently, they are unaware that as a UK citizen I can apply for a passport any time – this is not any sort of ‘offer’.
No recognition of their action in deliberately cancelling the valid passport that I need for work. No remedy has been offered. No compensation has been offered for their actions in wrongly cancelling a valid passport, nor for the stress and embarrassment of being arrested, photographed, pointed at by 300 people in the airport. No recognition that it will cost me minimally £1200 to get a new visa put in my new passport – the visa costs £620 and I have to come to London for 5 days to get it.
People need to be aware of the extraordinary sense of entitlement the FCO and Passport Office demonstrate, they make a terrible error and just shrug and carry on.
No apology, no remedy offered, no offer of recompense.
No their behaviour when cancelling the passport and since then has been contemptible, patronising and extremely insulting.