Any manufacturer will require to see your V5 & photo id, its the law to prove you are the owner of the car. It stops anyone from ordering a key to a car they fancy taking off the street. Its also law to see the registered owner of the car for the same reason. We also take payment for the key before ordering as it initially costs us to order the parts for you, and seeing as your key is no good to anyone else, why should we foot the bill?
We don't fax or email the details to VW, we order it through our parts ordering system.
If your vehicle has had a lock change, that does make life difficult. We wouldn't know its had it done, but now the newer systems are in place, the new key number is now recorded and updated on VW's records in Germany, so any future orders should result in a key that fits. Doesn't always happen though! But if its had a lock change in the past that does mess stuff up!
I don't understand your frustration at how its done. Its a process thats been in place the entire time I have worked for VW (14 years now) and nobody has ever moaned about it to me, its just the way it works. Having never ordered a key for a car I personally own, or for any other manufacturer (i've owned a VW of one kind or another since a 1996 Polo 6N), but I'd imagine the timescale will be the same. I can check for Honda and Mazda if you want me too (as the group I work for own garages for both brands), just in case VW are still in the stone age, but I'm pretty sure it will be the same as VW.