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Thomas
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 6449
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I am a UK Citizen living in Kuwait, I have a residency visa.

Customer Question

I am a UK Citizen living in Kuwait, I have a residency visa. I have been without my passport for 6 weeks due to the fact that there is no facility at the British Embassy to administer UK Passports. I applied for, and was given an Emergency Travel Document to leave kuwait put the kuwaiti immmigration refused to stamp it and I could not leave the country. Do I have a case against the UK Foreign Office as they are, I believe responsible for UK citizens now having to apply to the British Embassy in Dusseldorf for passports/renewals. It is evident that they have not made the necessary arrangements to make sure that the Kuwaiti Immigration will honour UK citizens leaving the country on an ETD.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Hi

Thanks for your question.

To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-

  • 1. Why did the Kuwaiti Immigration authority refuse to accept the ETD, did they cite a specific reason
  • 2. You applied for a replacement passport, correct?
  • 3. What direct financial loss have you suffered?

Kind regards.

Tom

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The Kuwaiti immigration said they needed a letter from the Kuwait British embassy stating that this was a temporary passport and I needed to travel on it as my passport was still in dusseldorf. When I went to collect my ETD from the Embassy I requested this letter but they refused based on the face they had never been requested this letter before for an ETD. I called the Embassy again today and they stated that even though they had received a positive response frm the Kuwaiti immigration that they would let people travel on an ETD there was the possibilty that they could also refuse. I hv followed the procedure of calling Passport info helpline, this I did on 16th July whereby they gave me a case number XXXXX with the assurance that an officer from dusseldorf passport centre wld call me, based on my urgency for my scheduled travel on 1st July. I did not receive a call so I called the Passport helpline again on 22nd July reiterated my previous conversation with them and the assured me again that an officer would call me within 3 days . They did not . In the meantime I sent an e mail to feedbackpassportservices on June 27th, there was an automated response stating they would reply within 10 days. Tissue I have received no reply.
I hv costs for the ETD which I paid KD45.5 for. My calls to Passport services which is the cost of call from Kuwait to a Uk number, then I am charged 72p minute plus VAT to speak to someone who all they can do is give u a file number and forward your your query by e mail to the passport department in Dusselforf.
The passport was for renewal as it was virtually full - It had not expired.
I am at the point now that after gaining a contact e mail address via a member of the public who I met at the British Embassy Kuwait who had had a response from an officer at Dusseldorf, where after several e mails between this officer and myself it was confirmed the passport had been printed and was being sent by DHL Wednesday or Thursday last week to the UK.
However this was based on the fact that at the time of confirming delivery address I was not aware that my ETD had been refused. When I did know this, however, on e mailing the officer to change the delivery address to Kuwait he advised me by e mail that he was unable to change the delivery address as it had already been despatched.
At this point in time it has not arrived, the officer has been asked several times for a tracking number but he has not responded.
In desperation I contacted Passport Services again to be told that my according to their records it has not even been shipped yet.
I hv today e mailed the officer and asked for it to be sent to Kuwait ASAP . I hv as yet received no acknowledgement to my e mail.
I am due to leave on my new flight departure date of 8th July which based on the current status seems very unlikely. I am urgently in need of my passport number in order to confirm my flight to the US on Monday 11 th and then a cruise on 17th . I hv been advised if I they do not receI've this information by 7th I lose my place on the flight and cruise .
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thanks for your question.

The first thing to say that although the respective embassies/high commissions in other countries say that you should allow 6 weeks for processing times, this is more of an indication rather than a contractual obligation that you can hold them to.

The passport gets sent to the processing centre in Dusseldorf, and they issued a warning on 17th July that they are experiencing high traffic and that applications are presenrly taking up to ten weeks. You can only chase in this regard really, but I do appreciate it is very frustrating.

They also advise that you should not book flights or make travel arrangements until you have received your issued passport, so I do not think you will be able to claim against them for the length of time it has taken to receive your passport (when it comes) or the cost of the flights etc.

As to the travel document, you would only have the possibility of a claim against them if you could show negligence. You would have to produce evidence to show that they did in fact know a letter would have to accompany the ETD and that they neglected to provide this to you. If they are saying that this is not require generally then you are going to be stuck unless you can get documentary proof from the Kuwati Immigration authority that this is the normal course of dealings (which I suspect shall be difficult).

I would make a formal complaint and asking to be compensated and exhaust their complaints procedure to see what you can get out of them but I would not be too optimistic of your chances in issuing a formal claim against them unfortunately.

I am sorry it could not be better news.

If this has been useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. If you do not click accept your money stays with the site and I do not receive any credit for the time I have taken to answer your question.

I will answer your follow up questions you may have.

Kind regards,


Tom

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The fact that when I sent in the application it stated It could take up to 5 weeks bears no weight to my complaint!
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
It's not a contractual obligation in the same way that it would be if you had contracted with a private company as a consumer to receive goods within a specified time I'm afraid.

You could possibly have a claim if it took an unreasonably long time after that and it was clearly negligence, but the length of time it is taking so far to get your visa is, I regret to say, not uncommon.

They do advise people not to make travel arrangements until a passport is received I'm afraid.

If you complain it will be the decision of the person in charge there to decide whether to compensate you, so it really depends on who your dealing with but unless you have it in writing that it would be delivered within 5 weeks then I would not be optimistic of your chances unfortunately.

I trust this clarifies and should be grateful if you would click accept. I will continue to answer your follow up questions.

Kind regards,

Tom
Thomas, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 6449
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
Thomas and other UK Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
As far as negligence, my issue here mostly is being a British resident in a foreign country without a passport for a long period of time! Isn't this an illegal position as well as a vulnerable position to be put in
Also it now transpires that after confirmation frm the officer of a despatch date of wednesday it has just been printed in the Uk which is contradiction to his previous e mail.
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
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