You can’t.

You can only apply for a part-completed application form to be sent to you snail mail for final completion.

Fair enough.  Security and all that.

This is how it “works”.

Well over a week ago I completed the initial application form.  The IPS (Identity and Passpoprt Service) web site says

we will aim to despatch the pre-printed application form to you within 24 hours.

A 10-figure reference number to view on screen is generated when you submit your application.  But the system doesn’t send an e-mail confirming your application has been received or what to do if you have an enquiry.  So you have no independent proof of successful receipt by the IPS of your details.

I hadn’t received my pre-printed application form today so I went on to the web site to see if I could check progress.

Again, you can’t – or at least if you can it’s not obvious.

You can retrieve a previously submitted form with a password and your reference number.  But only for 72 hours after submission.

An additional niggle (not a problem for me but might be for some).  The web site says the IPS paper form that will be despatched is currently unable to accept an e-mail contact address longer than 30 characters.  Thank God I’m not  (The address is invented.  It shouldn’t work.  Unless someone has called themselves that.  Which they might have been tempted to.)

The only way I can think of seeing if there’s still something in the system for me is by trying to submit a new application.  Surely it’ll warn me that I already have an application pending?  It doesn’t.  So now I have two applications in for a new passport.  Or one.  Or none.

We shall see.

Update 24 March – two part-completed passport forms have now been received.  So clearly no internal cross-checks in  their software.

I wouldn’t have blogged this if I hadn’t received a Tweet from fellow blogger Paul Clarke today about what he called a truly dreadful government transaction.  But that was about a DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) form so there’s obviously no connection is there?  No, obviously.