Passport interviews aim to beat ID fraud

PUBLISHED: 12:31 27 April 2007 | UPDATED: 22:46 28 May 2010

I am going on my first trip abroad in a few months time so I need to apply for a passport. A friend told me I will have to go for an interview. Is this true? FROM mid-2007 all first-time adult passport applicants will be called to a face-to-face inter

'I am going on my first trip abroad in a few months' time so I need to apply for a passport. A friend told me I will have to go for an interview. Is this true?'

FROM mid-2007 all first-time adult passport applicants will be called to a face-to-face interview. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) says this is being done in order to combat the growing problem of identity fraud.

Applications can still be made by post, but all those aged 16 or over who have never held a passport before will be interviewed after preliminary background checks have been completed.

Interviews should last between 10 and 20 minutes and in them people will be asked some basic information about themselves. IPS says this should not be deeply private information, but it will need to be information that can be checked.

IPS says it is aiming for 95 per cent of the population to be within an hour's travel of an office where interviews will take place, and more than half within 15 minutes.

It also promises that the offices should be easy to find, with good parking and public transport access. For those in more remote areas, they will conduct interviews over a secure webcam link.

Applicants will be asked to provide information before interview (for example, their national insurance number and previous addresses) which will be checked against government and private sector databases.

These changes to the application process will mean an increase in the passport fee, but IPS has not yet announced how much the new charge will be. For more information go to the IPS website: www.passport. gov.uk

For free, independent, confidential advice go to the Citizens Advice website www.adviceguide. org.uk or consult your local CAB.

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