The waiting game

Let’s play a little game. What’s wrong with the above picture? Yep, that’s right: it contains three passports – and there are four members of our family. The Baby’s passport, almost a month since I submitted her application, is nowhere to be seen, and we go on holiday in a little over three weeks. I’m stressed. Very, very stressed.

The Baby’s passport form was submitted on the same day as mine and The Boy’s, back in the middle of June. The Boy’s came back within a fortnight, and mine was a couple of days after that. But The Baby’s still hasn’t turned up. I wasn’t that worried at first; I figured it’d just take a bit longer, as hers is a first passport and not a renewal. Now, though, I’m in a state of barely-suppressed panic.

Having spent most of my day on the phone to the passport office, I have established that a) The Baby’s application is at the Liverpool office, b) a letter of additional questions was sent to the counter-signatory on July 5th, and c) she hasn’t received it yet. The same person signed my form and The Boy’s, and there were no problems there, so I’m in the dark about what they want to know. Anyway, clearly the letter has gone AWOL – and the passport office are none too keen on sending out a copy until two weeks have elapsed. This is time we don’t have.

I’ll admit that I do tend to be a glass-half-empty person, but I’m having serious panic attacks about what will become of our family holiday if The Baby’s passport doesn’t arrive in time. There’s no way on this earth that I’d leave her for a week; she doesn’t even let me go to the loo on my own. The Boy is adamant that he doesn’t want to go without me, even though DH says he’d take him, and I’d hate him going, too. So it looks as though none of us will be going if the passport doesn’t turn up.

We stand not just to miss our holiday, but also to lose a heck of a lot of money. Cancelling within 14 days would mean forfeiting the entire cost – just short of £2,000. I’ve checked the terms and conditions on our booking, and put in a pleading call to the travel agent, but there’s no way round it. And, of course, our travel insurance doesn’t cover cancellation on the grounds of being stupid enough not to put your passport application in soon enough. Oh no.

Thing is, theoretically, the forms *did* go off in time. Yes, yes, they spent a good six weeks gathering dust on top of the bread bin before I got round to taking them to the post office, but we still had seven weeks to play with. It should have been fine. But now it’s looking increasingly unlikely. I know it’s all my fault; I should have got my act together sooner (not that I needed my husband to point that out to me…).

It might all work out. There are still 24 days until we’re supposed to go away, so it’s possible. But it’s also possible that in just over three weeks’ time I will have a heartbroken son, who has been talking of nothing but Portugal for months, a furious husband, and a £2,000 shaped hole in my bank account.

Hope and pray for us, please…

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11 thoughts on “The waiting game

    • I’ve phoned and know exactly what the hold-up is: this letter to the counter-signatory which has gone AWOL. Best case scenario: they send a new letter out ASAP, the queries are dead simple and can be answered straight away, and we get the passport in good time. Worst: they refuse to send a new letter till the 14 days has elapsed (Thursday), my poor counter-signatory has to dig out degree certificates etc (apparently they can ask you to do this – and I would have *no* idea where mine was!), and there’s just not enough time. I am very very very stressed and feel SO guilty.

    • Sadly that service isn’t available for first passports; just for renewals. The counter-signatory has received the letter now and is sorting it today, so we *should* be okay…

  1. I have everything crossed for you. If it’s any consolation my own renewal didn’t arrive until a week before we went on our honeymoon. Stress is NOT the word!

    • It is *so* stressful, isn’t it? I’m beating myself up about it, and The Boy is so upset… Still, my counter-signatory now has the letter and we’re going to send her reply back by Special Delivery, so that should give them three clear weeks to issue the passport. The sooner the better, so I can get some sleep!

  2. Can you and/or the counter signatory go in person to the passport office? It may be better than losing the holiday, I had to sit there for 12 hours once for an “emergency” passport (a long story & entirely my fault!) It might be worth a try?

    • They don’t do a face-to-face service for children’s first passports otherwise I’d be there banging the door down! It looks as if we’re getting sorted now, though, so fingers crossed…

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