Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paying through the nose

A recent survey has revealed that the British expatriates have to pay twice as much as many other citizens of other countries to renew their passports when residing in Spain. Currently, according to prices quoted on the official government website, it costs UK citizens who live in Spain 152 Euros to renew their passport. In addition they also have to cover the standard courier charge of around 13 Euros, which takes the total charge to 165 Euros, to renew a 10 year UK passport.

This compares unfavourably with the 61 Euros for Dutch passport renewals, 80 Euros for Irish passports and 89 for French. The only country which appears to charge more than the UK for a standard renewal of an adult passport according to the survey is Australia. Australian citizens living in Spain are required to pay 167 Euros to renew their official travel documentation. The country which offers the cheapest passport renewals is South Africa which charges a very affordable and reasonable 41 Euros.

A spokesman for The British Embassy in Madrid says: “It is Government policy that the costs of consular services overseas, which includes issuing replacement passports to British nationals resident abroad, should be borne by the beneficiaries of the service and not subsidised by UK taxpayers. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) - part of the Home Office - sets the fees for British passports issued in the UK and issues approximately six million passports every year to British nationals living in the UK.

“The Foreign Office - on behalf of the IPS - issues passports to British nationals living abroad. It issues fewer than 500,000 passports a year through seven Passport Processing Centres around the world, and must recover the full costs of issuing through the passport fee. Although this is an efficient operation, it cannot match the economies of scale that the IPS musters in issuing over 10 times as many passports in the UK.”

Other countries, such as Holland, South Africa and Canada, currently subsidise the passport service for their expatriates, thereby making it cheaper than the service which is offer to UK citizens who live in Spain.

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