A SUR in English survey reveals that Britons have to pay twice as much as many other nationals to renew their passports when residing in Spain.
Currently, it costs UK citizens who live in Spain 153 euros plus the standard courier charge of 12 euros, taking it to 165 euros, to renew their 10 year UK passport.
This compares to the 61 euros for Dutch passport renewals, 80 euros for Irish passports and 89 for French. The only country which charges more than the UK for a standard renewal of an adult passport according to this newspaper’s survey is Australia. Australian citizens living in Spain are required to pay 167 euros. The country which offers the cheapest passport renewals is South Africa which charges 41 euros.
“I do feel that we pay way over the odds for our passport renewal here,” says Deborah Fisher who recently renewed her UK passport in Spain. “My passport renewal cost 165 euros, about £145 at today’s exchange rate, which included the return courier service, twice as much as it would cost me in the UK.
“If I had had the option I would have asked for a fast track service, but apparently that is not possible here in Spain. Normal service in the UK, taking up to three weeks would have cost me £77.50. A one week fast track service would have cost me £112.50. So what am I paying the extra for?” she asks.
April Whaley who is due to renew her British passport next month agrees. “I think it is disgraceful Brits abroad have to pay so much in comparison with other EU citizen in Spain; and also in comparison with people who live in the UK. I don’t see how it can be justified,” affirms April.
SUR in English asked the British Embassy in Madrid.
“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,” said a spokesman.
“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.”
SUR in English is informed that countries such as Holland, South Africa and Canada currently subsidize the passport service for their expatriates, thereby making it cheaper than than the service which is offer to UK citizens who live in Spain, which the UK taxpayer does not pay towards.