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Delay in returning passport meant missed holiday

Mr B provided his passport as evidence that he was a European Economic Area national to help his ex-wife apply for permanent residence in the UK. Mr B planned a holiday to Italy for late summer 2013 with his father who lived in Australia and was unlikely to travel to Europe again. Mr B needed the passport that his ex-wife had sent to UKVI.

UKVI's website said that it aimed to return requested documents within 10 working days. However, Mr B cancelled his holiday after waiting more than 20 working days for his passport which had been requested twice. Mr B was able to recover the deposits for his accommodation and car hire, but he lost £218.96 on his flights.

Mr B complained to UKVI. He said that he wanted compensation for the cancelled plane tickets and for the inconvenience and stress caused to him and his family. UKVI refused to compensate Mr B because its website advised people not to make non-urgent travel arrangements when not in possession of a passport.

UKVI's complaint handling was poor. If UKVI had concentrated on the issues that caused the delay, it would have realised that it had missed its service standard twice by a considerable margin.

As a result of our investigation UKVI apologised to Mr B and paid him £218.96 for the lost flights and £300 to reflect the loss of his planned holiday, as well as the frustrating effects of its poor complaint handling.