NationalNews

‘It’s a joke’: Aussies queue for hours over passport renewals

Frustrated Aussies planning to travel overseas are in some instances queuing for more than four hours just to find out if their new passports are being processed.

Sydney Passport Office has seen long queues develop ahead of opening time, with many having received no updates on their applications and unable to contact the office on the phone.

Andrew Barron told 9news.com.au he was planning to travel to the United Kingdom with his son next week to meet up with his wife and family, who were already in England.

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He took annual leave from his job to wait in the line, which he predicted would involve a six-hour wait.

"I put in the application nine weeks ago so I am just trying to find out where it's up to," Barron said.

"You don't know if it is one day away or two weeks away so today is just trying to get some certainty as to where it is up to.

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"You can't ring up, you are on hold for two hours and then it disconnects, this is the only thing you can do."

Sydney resident Nick Hill has his brother's wedding in the United Kingdom in three weeks' time.

"It's really frustrating because you just don't know what's going on and it's also really cold. There's lots of mums out here with strollers and things, it's a joke really," Hill said.

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Hill said he wasn't stressed because he had three more weeks until his trip but was frustrated he had to take a day off work to wait in the line.

Muneer Ahmad, who was also standing in the queue, said he applied for his passport ten weeks ago and was still waiting on an outcome.

"I'm stressed very much because all of the tickets have been booked and we are just waiting for the passports."

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said it was experiencing "unprecedented high demand" for its passport services, following the reopening of Australia's international border.

"We normally receive between 7000 and 9000 applications per working day. Currently, we are receiving 10,000 to 12,000 applications per working day," the spokesperson said.

The office said they currently had four weeks worth of work in the processing queue and customers should allow up to six weeks to get a passport or renew one.

"We continue to onboard and train additional passport processing and call centre staff to meet the increased demand, as well as making further improvements to our telephony technology and business processes.

"As a result of these changes, customers will soon start to see a reduction in the current delays over the coming weeks."

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