IT'S PASSPORT purgatory for a junior golfer from Darlington as he desperately tries to get to the Junior European Golf Open in Spain this week.

Callum Moncur was thrilled to qualify for the event, hosted by Sky Sports, but the joy was short-lived when his family realised there was an issue with his passport and Durham Passport Office has not been sympathetic.

Since Callum turned 16 this year, his parents forgot to renew his child’s passport to an adult one at the end of August and in a panic, the young sport star’s parents applied for a new one.

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The mistake was partly due to the tournament being pushed back twice due to the Covid pandemic.

Callum’s dad, Warren Moncur, said: “It was an honest mistake, we just didn’t think. We applied for a new one as soon as we realised.”

Unbeknown to them, Callum’s parents didn’t realise there was an option to apply for a passport with a fast-track service or a 'one day' service.

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Warren was told it would take three to four weeks for a new passport to be issued but the tournament in Spain is next week.

As the process for a new passport is already underway, the passport office in Durham has Callum’s old passport, which means they can’t cancel the current passport renewal and apply for a passport via fast-track or 'one day' service instead.

Three family members have also booked flights to go and support Callum as he is Type 1 Diabetic and so must be supervised.

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Warren said: “I’ve paid £177 for an appointment to actually go to the office in Durham just so I could get in the door and explain the situation. They’ve got the passport there. I’ve probably wasted that money but I just thought if I can be there and explain the situation they might help.

“I would understand if it was a holiday we’d booked. Fair enough, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Callum.

“If he stands a chance of getting a scholarship to a university in America, he needs to go to Spain next week.

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“The cost of the trip is in the region of £2,000 which will be lost if the passport is not issued in time. The tracker system on Callum’s passport hasn’t changed since the day of the application.

“They won’t let us pay for a fast-track and they won’t send us the old passport back to allow us to get a same day passport at Durham (HM Passport Office, Durham) because they said it’s taking 14 days to send an old passport back.

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"Even though the old passport is at Durham and our appointment would be at Durham. They will not let us receive the passport apart from a 14 day post delivery.

"I have offered to pay special delivery post cost but they refused that too so basically they are stopping Callum going to the final due to keeping hold of his own old passport for a 14 day postage period.”

A HMPO spokesperson said: “Since the outset of the pandemic, over 5 million have chosen to delay their passport application, and in anticipation of this additional demand we introduced revised guidance in April advising people to allow up to 10 weeks to get their passport. 

“We offer urgent services for applicants who need a passport more quickly, and Callum’s passport was issued and collected today through the Online Premium service.”


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