I HAVE had to renew my passport and it has taken 3 weeks to do this. Both the consulates in Palma and Madrid have a telephone service that takes 3 minutes before being able to contact an operator. A voice mail goes on and on giving local information which takes for ever. The Palma consulate took me an hour to find, with no map available from them when I asked for their location. Surely help to locate the new office would be a help. At last, I sent my passport to Madrid and asked for my passport to be free as I am a war veteran and born before September 1929. I was told that this service will take 4 to 6 weeks as the Home Office has set up a slow system. As I am going to the UK to visit family at Christmas, I have been forced to pay the 182 euros from my war pension. This is so unfair. I have written to the Home Office (see below copy in italics). TO THE HOME OFFICE RE PASSPORTS Dear Sirs, I am 78 and was born on June 20th 1929. I now live in Majorca, Spain. I am applying for a renewal of my passport that runs out in January 2008.
I understand from the British Consulate in Madrid that I can get a free renewal as I was born before September 1929. However I have just been told that it will take up to 4 to 6 weeks as it has to done in Liverpool. As I am leaving on December 20th to visit my family in Barnstable for Christmas this option would not be any good as it would take too long. I have therefore to pay for my passport from my small war pension which will cost an extra 181 euros! This is not fair. I was told that the Home Office set up this scheme without due consideration of problems for pensioners like myself. I feel most strongly that this situation should be rectified as soon as possible to help other war pensioners in the future. PLEASE PASS THIS EMAIL TO SOMEONE IN AUTHORITY TO ACTION THIS. I would be most grateful if you would reply to this email. I am sending a copy of this email to my local papers and to the British Consulates in Madrid and in Palma. I hope that some action will be taken to help war pensioners who want to renew their passports. Yours sincerely Niels Svendsen, Bendinat
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