ABU DHABI // British nationals who want to renew their passport will have to send their application to Germany from August, as the UK government attempts to improve security and cut costs. The embassies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai currently process and print new passports, but as of August 1, all UAE applications will have to be sent to the Passport Processing Centre in Düsseldorf, according to the British Embassy's website.
Passport applications will still be processed within 10 working days, though extra time should be allowed for "delivery at both ends of the process". The embassy recommends applicants leave a month to obtain a new passport before their travel date, the same amount of time it advises when passports are processed in the UK. Additional delivery costs are to be borne by the applicants. Britain's foreign office plans to move all passport printing operations to seven Regional Passport Processing Centres by the end of 2010.
"The UK remains one of the few countries printing passports in embassies and consulates abroad," the statement said. "This is expensive to do and is less secure as we have to transport blank passports around the world." The security of European passports has been in the spotlight since it was revealed that the alleged assassins of the Hamas leader Mahmoud al Mabhouh, who was killed in Dubai in January, travelled on forged European and Australian documents, 12 of which were British.
In 2008, 3,000 blank UK passports destined for embassies abroad were stolen from a delivery van in England when the driver stopped to buy a chocolate bar. firstname.lastname@example.org