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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 04:54 GMT 05:54 UK
Passport interview offices named
British passport
First time passport applicants will have to submit to an interview
A new network of 69 offices to be used to interview first-time passport applicants has been unveiled.

The news came under fire from Lib Dems, who said the plans will cause problems for those living in remote areas.

Ministers said in December 2004 that all adult first-time applications would require an interview from late 2006.

The decision will affect those who never have held a UK passport including those whose names were on their parents' travel documents.

It is estimated 609,000 people will be affected in the first year. The system will mean people making new applications will be invited to call the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) 24-hour advice line to make an interview appointment at their chosen new office.

The 10-20 minute sessions are to be conducted in a "friendly and non-threatening manner" and will mainly consist of asking applicants to confirm facts about themselves.

The IPS will provide interpreters where there is a need and if an applicant is aged 16 or 17 a parent must be present.

In "genuine emergencies" limited-validity passports will be issued without interview; otherwise appointments are expected to be offered at the chosen office within four days.

Practical problems?

The locations of the 69 offices will become the core of a larger network of facilities for ID card enrolment.

In remote communities where travelling time to the nearest office would take more than one hour, interview will be conducted over a secure webcam link.

But Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: "This new network poses a host of practical problems for the poor, the elderly and those who live in remote parts of the UK.

"Arrangements for conducting interviews by video link do not address the basic problem that people in the Scottish islands and elsewhere will soon be required to attend registration centres a long way from home."

The 69 offices will be located in:

Aberdeen

Dundee

Edinburgh

Glasgow

Inverness

Kilmarnock

Oban

Stirling

Wick


Berwick-upon-Tweed

Carlisle

Dumfries

Galashiels

Kendal

Middlesbrough

Newcastle

Northallerton


Armagh

Belfast

Coleraine

Omagh


Blackburn

Liverpool

Manchester

Wrexham


Hull

Leeds

Scarborough

Sheffield

York


Aberystwyth

Bristol

Cheltenham

Newport

Swansea

Swindon


Birmingham

Derby

Leicester

Northampton

Shrewsbury

Stoke-on-Trent

Warwick


Boston

Bury St Edmunds

Ipswich

Kings Lynn

Lincoln

Norwich

Peterborough


Barnstaple

Camborne

Exeter

Plymouth

St Austell

Yeovil


Andover

Bournemouth

Newport IOW

Oxford

Portsmouth

Reading


Chelmsford

Crawley

Dover

Hastings

London

Luton

Maidstone

The remote communities service will be available in:

Anglesey & North Gwynedd

Ardnamurchan & Movern

Arran

Barra, Benbecula & Uist

Bute

Canna, Eigg & Muck, Knoydart & Fort William

Central Highlands

Coll, Mull & Tiree

Cowal Peninsula

Gigha & Mull of Kintyre

Jura, Colonsay & Islay

Lewis & Harris

Lochcarron

North Aberdeenshire

Orkney

Pembrokeshire

Scilly Isles

Shetland

Stranraer

Skye

Wester Ross

West Sutherland


SEE ALSO:
Passport applicants face grilling
28 Jun 05 |  UK Politics
'No decision' on passport prints
12 Apr 05 |  UK Politics


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