Phil Buckley

Phil Buckley

Digital Transformation Manager

Part of Digital Diplomacy

5th November 2015 London, UK

Emergency travel documents: the new digital application system

You can now apply online for an emergency travel document

One of the biggest and most important transactions run by the Foreign Office is emergency travel documents. An emergency travel document will get you home if you are abroad and your passport is unavailable for one reason or another.

Earlier in the casebook we saw why people would need an emergency travel document, what the current emergency travel document process is; and yesterday, we saw how in a moment’s lack of attention British middle manager Tom had his passport stolen.

Today, in the last of our series of short blogs, Tom is introduced to the new digital application system for emergency travel documents. Click on each image for a larger version. 

Phil’s photo casebook day 4: how Tom gets home now

You can now apply online

Tom applies online in less than 15 minutes and spends a lot less time at the consulate

Tom can make his flight on the same day

The FCO issues 30-40 thousand documents each year – if we can save each customer 20 minutes waiting, that’s a whole lot of minutes saved. The paper based process is also not particularly efficient for our staff: we hope that the new digital process will also give our staff more time to help British citizens in trouble.

We have been developing this for a few months now and at the time of writing we have reached the ‘private beta’ stage: this means that it’s not available to everyone, but some customers who call our contact centres or walk into our consulates will be invited to try applying online. We will try out the system and iron out any lumps and bumps before rolling it out worldwide.

Getting this far has been a very large and complex piece of work, and on behalf of the project team I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved: our partners Kainos who have built the system, WhatUsersDo who have helped us to test it with users worldwide, and the many FCO staff members who have contributed to the service so far.

Let me know any thoughts you have in the comments box below, and I’ll write more on the system shortly. 

Follow Phil on Twitter @philbuckley5

Huge thanks to the cast who were so generous with their time and image rights:

  • Spanish businessman 1 (Alberto) – Andrew Coleman
  • Spanish businessman 2 (Juaquim) – Ricky Leach
  • As himself, contact centre staff member – John Gow 
  • Consular staff member Arnold/ The Thief – Phil Buckley

And introducing @markbarlow as ‘Tom’

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