I and my wife applied for UK Visa on July 18th from The Netherlands through an agency called TLSContact.

On 4th of August, we got an email saying that the decision has been made. On 7th of August I received one of the Passports but for the other one, the tracking shows as Shipment information received.

I contacted DHL multiple times and they confirmed that although the Shipping Labels were generated, they never received the second passport from UKVI Department.

I then contacted the UK-VI department on their paid phone number. The gentleman eventually asked me to wait for a few days. He couldn't confirm or deny if the second passport was shipped back to me or not.

I then contacted TLSContact and they confirmed that the passport has been shipped back to me already which DHL denied once again

I then tried contacting UKVI once again on their paid line, and after arguing a couple of minutes with the lady because she was adamant that the passports have been handed over to DHL, she asked me to write an email to UKVI and then follow up there.

This whole process has been very stressful for us and if we do not receive the passport before 20th of August then we might not be able to travel to the UK at all (wife pregnant and not fit for travel after August) and thus costing us about €450 for nothing.

Did anyone have a similar experience before? Or knows who I can approach in this situation.

I'm thinking to sue DHL for the damages if I don't receive my passport in a week because 2 agencies claiming that the passports have been handed to DHL and DHL not updating their tracking. But I have a feeling that is isn't DHL and is most likely UKVI or TLSContact

Is there anything better I can do here?

Edit: The passport also had a 10 year US Visa, so I will have to go through all of that process once again. And now I don't even have a reason to visit U.S so I don't know if they would even issue it.

Edit 2: Looks like it, not the first time DHL Heathrow did this. https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/3xtiv1/dhl_lost_my_passport_can_i_do_anything_about_this/

DHL Tracking data: http://i.imgur.com/vnqwvme.png

Correspondence with DHL:


  • 1
    If you're going to sue, sue them both although I don't know if you can collect damages from the UK government which is a sovereign state. Consult an attorney is the best advice. Aug 11, 2017 at 8:26
  • 1
    All the culpable party would be on the hook for is the cost of replacement passport - you won't get the cost of the trip back from them, those are costs you should have insured yourself against unforeseen issues such as this. Also, DHLs contract is not with you, so you may not have standing to sue them.
    – Moo
    Aug 11, 2017 at 8:33
  • 1
    I have no experience with this, but as the passport is property of your home country, it seems to me that you should involve them. Document the contradicting statements that you got from DHL and UKVI and let your home country know that one of these parties lost your passport. But again, these are my purely theoretical thoughts, I also do not know how good the bureaucracy of your home country is with this kind of problem.
    – Carsten S
    Aug 11, 2017 at 13:29
  • 1
    @Davidmh in many cases and countries, you can only sue the government if the government consents to being sued.
    – Moo
    Aug 11, 2017 at 15:47
  • 1
    If you don't have a reason to visit the US any time soon, why bother with the expense and hassle of getting a new US visa? Aug 11, 2017 at 16:14

3 Answers 3


Many years ago, my UK and my wife's non-EU passport were lost by the Royal Mail as we were applying for her initial one year residency visa to be extended to indefinite. The Royal Mail recovered my passport and a damaged envelope but not hers. This was very worrying as there was little hope of getting her passport replaced before her UK visa expired. It is a complex process involving a report witnessed by a Public Notary and visits to the far away embassy. I am pleased to say that the Home Office were very good; I faxed (remember it's an old story) them a report and they faxed back an acknowledgement confirming that the visa renewal could wait for her passport to be replaced. This was also confirmed by real paper mail. Dealing with the Royal Mail was tougher but I persuaded them to pay the full cost of replacing the passport including the notary's fee though not the cost of travel to London. No lawyers were involved, just tough and persistent complaining by me. No shouting, swearing, or offensive language just determination. My colleagues overhearing some of my calls were very amused.

  • Thanks for your response. The problem in my situation is that every party denying that they lost it. It's a deadlock where each party involved is asking me to check with another party. DHL says they never received the passport where as V&I and TLSContact say that they have already handed it over to DHL. However in my first call with V&I office they asked me to wait another 2 days because it wasn't handed over to DHL. But the second call they denied it and reconfirmed that it is already handed over to DHL.
    – Atif
    Aug 11, 2017 at 9:02
  • 1
    Yes, I recognised the difference in our cases but it seemed unlikely that you would find someone with an exactly matching story so I hoped that it would help. I would probably not sue as I expect that the probability of success would be too low to justify the cost. That is not expert legal advice just my own opinion. My next step would be a written recorded complaint to both companies explaining that they should be able to determine between them who last had the package. Avoid being angry or abusive as this gives them an excuse to ignore you. Of course, no lies as they may backfire later.
    – badjohn
    Aug 11, 2017 at 9:11
  • Agreed. Thank you for the advice. And no I have never exhibited my anger to them or abused anyone (although on every paid call, they waste 8-9 minutes just gathering my information which makes me very angry). About the written complaint, any ideas on how I would find the addresses for the relevant departments or shall I post the written complaint on any office of both of these organisations?
    – Atif
    Aug 11, 2017 at 9:14
  • 2
    On the carrier. I recently complained to an Amazon dealer about a package that did not arrive. They tried to blame the courier and wanted me to complain to them. I accepted that it may be the courier's fault but my contract was with them. How they chose to accomplish my order was their business and not mine. They could complain to the courier but my complaint was with them. After a while, they gave in and resent my goods via a different courier (oddly Royal Mail this time) and they arrived. I neither know nor care what happened between them and the original carrier..
    – badjohn
    Aug 11, 2017 at 9:36
  • 1
    I think that I would concentrate my complaints on the agent, as it is them that you paid.
    – badjohn
    Aug 11, 2017 at 9:37


Since this question has been getting a lot of views I thought I would share my outcome. I ended up writing a strongly worded email to TLSContact planning to take legal action if they don't cooperate in this matter.

TLSContact then contacted me (IIRC it was from France, I guess their head office) and assumed responsibility for the loss of passport, and obliged to expense me for the passport, visa, and any linked expenses.

Having said that, this was probably a one-off case because I have had to use their services again a few times and everything was smooth.

For anyone wondering, this was my email to them to make them act:

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Short answer is that you should pursue this with the shipper, rather than with the courier.

Edit: I'm moving these paragraphs to the top, since they outline what you might want to do in this situation:

Something as important as government documents are generally shipped with a requirement for a consignee signature (yours), and sometimes insurance. If the shipper has given you the tracking number for your package, you can point out that the package has no Proof of Delivery (signature), or any evidence at all that the package was actually sent to you (no tracking information).

If the shipper sent the package out with insurance (the agreement with most major couriers is that if they lose or damage your parcel, they will reimburse you up to the specified insurance limit), then ask them to open a claim with DHL. This may not be worth much to you, but it will put pressure on the shipper to "do something" for you, and get involved in contacting DHL themselves. Let them do the arguing with DHL about whose responsibility the package was, and hopefully the shipper will give in, and accept that DHL never had the package.

I'll quickly add as well, that when it comes to opening a claim (rather than just trying to track down a package), the company will only deal with the account holder (the shipper). So if the shipper tries to push back and ask you to do all the follow up on actually opening an insurance claim with DHL, you will likely be able to push it back to the shipper. And, since it is a government document, the shipper may even have a policy that they need to follow up on undelivered parcels.

The following is a long description of why DHL won't be able to help you:

I can't speak for DHL in the UK or the Netherlands, but throughout many other countries, couriers provide electronic shipping software to shippers in order to enter shipments and produce shipping labels. This electronic shipment data is then sent to the courier's servers - often in a batch at the "end of day", as a final closure on all shipments departing.

Based on the information that you've received from DHL, it sounds as though the shipper has submitted their electronic data for the shipment ("the paperwork"), but the package was never scanned. Thus, it's likely that the package was never provided to DHL.

Again, I can't speak for DHL in the UK/NL, but as a package moves along its route to the destination, the shipping label's barcode will usually be scanned for tracking along its route. Every time it goes through a sortaton facility, or passed off to a new vehicle, it would be scanned, and added to the list of tracking events. If you were to go to DHL's website and track the package that you did receive, you'll probably see multiple tracking events throughout its trip to you. Human error can cause a package to accidentally have its scanning missed by a physical employee, but scans done at a sortation facility are often automated (package is placed on a conveyer belt), and any package going across the border would also be likely to have a high priority on not having any scans missed.

So, since there are no scans, it's likely that the package either never left the shipper's location, despite the shipper creating a shipping label for it. It's possible that something else happened - such as the shipping label being damaged/unreadable, or the package being lost as soon as the DHL employee touched it (eg it fell out of a bin as the employee was taking it out to the truck, or something), but that is less likely.

DHL cannot do anything for you if they have no record of receiving the package. And if you were to try and sue them, it's unlikely to go anywhere. Imagine the precidence it would set if any DHL customer could enter a shipment into DHL's system, then not hand over the package, and then sue DHL for "losing" the package.

  • The biggest problem for me here is that the shipper which is either TLSContact or UKVI are very not cooperative. They keep blaming DHL and are not ready to open any investigation. The UKVI call line costs €1.50 per minute, and on every call, they spend like 10 mins just to gather my details and then eventually ask me to check with DHL. They finally asked me to drop them an email costing €6 to respond and said they will look into it.
    – Atif
    Aug 12, 2017 at 23:26
  • DHL, on the other hand, is very helpful. THey investigated twice and confirmed that the barcode or shipping labels were printed but they never received the second passport because apparently they scan the barcode immediately when they receive the documents
    – Atif
    Aug 12, 2017 at 23:27
  • [1/2] @AtifMohammedAmeenuddin Unfortunately TLSContact or UKVI are the only ones who can do anything for you at the moment. As badjohn mentioned, persistence with TLSContact or UKVI is all that you can really do. I noticed that in one of your comments on your primary post, you mentioned that you wrote them a long email, and your screenshot shows that they gave a very short and dismissive reply. I would suggest you try respond with a short and direct message (these customer service reps have to read through a lot of these requests every day, so long emails are usually just skimmed over).
    – RToyo
    Aug 14, 2017 at 15:16
  • [2/2] I'm not sure if this is appropriate in the UK, but: I would also ask to have the issue escalated to a superior (a supervisor or manager). If you want to take a firm tone, you could say something like: [...]DHL has confirmed several times that they have not recieved the package with tracking number XXXXXX from you. The (lack of) tracking information confirms this. Your company has been holding onto the package for nearly two weeks now, and I would like to speak to a supervisor to ensure that the package is sent out promptly.
    – RToyo
    Aug 14, 2017 at 15:16
  • Thanks, I will try that. The only problem with UKVI is that every call costs me around €15 because they stretch it so far and don't give me any details. Where as TLSContact has stopped responding altogether.
    – Atif
    Aug 14, 2017 at 19:17

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