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Teemsta

Visa Company Witholding Passport - Legal Rights?

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My girlfriend recently attempted to organise a business trip to India. She supplied a third party company to organise her visa, but unfortunately due to reasons unknown it was referred.

 

This dragged on for a couple of weeks and now the trip has been cancelled. She needs her passport back, but the company is refusing to return it until all owed funds have been paid.

 

Now I understand this company needs paying for their time and to be honest this is something they and her company need to thrash out, but my question is can they legally withhold her passport? Surely not, but I really want to find out her legal rights.

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Is this a UK passport?

 

If so, this is inside it:

 

Caution This passport remains the property ofHM Government in the UK... It should not be tampered with or passed to an unauthorised person. Any case of loss... should be reported to the Police

 

Even if there is some dispute about money, it is wrong of the company to hold on to it. Tell them it must be returned, or you will report the matter to the police - and do it if they fail to comply.

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Holding on to the passport as secirity for a debt may appear unethical, byt then so too is instructing someone to do a task (obtain a visa) then not pay for the service. If the visa was obtained then it will remain on the passport and the fees due, as the firm had to pay for the provided service, it would be foolish for them to rip out a page containing a visa that was not paid for, then pursue for the money owed.

 

Since the service was requested, it would bve easier and cheaper to pay for thew provided visa, and get the passport back, than pay for a replacement. As to their act of retaining the passport, this is probably allowed as it was supplied as part of the requested service, not demanded as security on an unrelated matter.

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I understand that might be the case for distraint against goods for services (e.g. holding on to a car in the garage if payment is not made). In this case, however, the passport belongs to the Government, not the individual.

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It would be an esoteric argument at best. If might 'belong' to the Government, but it is a purchase made by the applicant, which the Passport Service cleary stipulates that the full cost for producing it it met by the applicant. Similarly, who would ask for it back, your MP (as a representative of the Govt)? I know there are issues with State Benefit Books/Cards, but these are specifically mentioned that they have no monetary value and cannot be used as security. I've not seen this for a passport.

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Re-reading the OP, it appears to me that the contract for the visa service is between the visa company and the passport holder's employer. If the visa company has provided a service, for which they are of course entitled to be paid, they have a legal remedy open to them to recover their fee, but I can still see no legitimate reason for them to hold on to the passport.

 

It would be interesting to know if there is some dispute.

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??? OP said SHE arranged the Visa through a third party. Just because the travel was 'for business' doesn't mean an employer would be involved. Even if it did, it would be for them to pay and the passport to be released, even if the trip was cancelled, the Visa would still be valid, and should be paid for.

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Yep, the OP said that the passport holder made the arrangements. Later in the post, however, there is reference to the payment issue being between the visa service and 'her company' which implies that the employer is responsible for the payment.

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I think it will take for the applicant, rather than the OP to explain what happened, as if you take the first part as accurate, 'her company' would clearly pay her for the reasonable expenses incurred for the issue of the Visa. Again, still removed from the direct responsibility to pay the supplier directly!

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Hi all

the passport belongs to the government not to the OP

so should be returned!

if there is an issue of payment the it should be for the courts to decied

the passport is always owned by the government not the OP

 

leakie

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Yes right. YOU try getting a passport without paying for one.

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Don't you just hate it when the original poster hasn't the courtesy to come back to explain things

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Would be nice, IO agree - but experience has shown that they don;t like reporting failure when compared with success....

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