Ministers have warned that millions of UK holidaymakers face cancelled summer trips because of the significant delays in applications being processed.
Five million people delayed renewing their passports during the pandemic and the Passport Office is now facing unprecedented demand since Covid restrictions have been lifted.
Post-Brexit travel rules from the EU are also adding to the pressure, as it is now a requirement for UK citizens to have at least three months validity remaining on their passport when travelling to EU member nations.
MPs have criticised the Passport Office for repeatedly missing a ten-week target to process applications, but Home Office minister Kevin Foster has said the government has no intention of letting this processing time slide further.
His comments came as the Commons heard of one woman who has waited more than five months to receive her daughter’s new passport, with services branded “either really very good or an absolute shambles”.
The Prime Minister is understood to be “horrified” at the backlog in dealing with passport applications and will summon the agency’s leadership for urgent talks at No 10 on Thursday (28 April).
He is said to be concerned that families wanting to go on summer holidays are under pressure to pay up to £100 extra per passport for fast-track applications because of delays.
If you are planning a trip abroad this summer and need to get your passport renewed, there is a way to fast track your application. Here’s all the info you need to know.
How do I get a fast track passport renewal?
It is possible to fast track your passport application if you are worried the non-urgent service will take too long.
You will need to book an appointment at the passport office appointment and pay online. Appointments can be made up to three weeks in advance.
You are eligible to apply for the fast track service if you:
- are in the UK
- need to renew or replace a passport, or get a first child passport
If you are outside the UK, you can apply for an emergency travel document.
If you have already applied for a passport and have not yet received it, do not pay for an urgent passport as you will not receive it sooner or get a refund.
There are two ways to apply for an urgent passport and you will need to attend an appointment at your nearest passport office as part of the application.
If you use the Online Premium service, you will get your new passport at your appointment, which lasts up to 30 minutes.
It costs £177 (or £187 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport) for this option, and it can only be used to renew an adult passport that was issued after 31 December 2001.
1 week Fast Track
The 1 week Fast Track service will deliver your passport to your home within one week of our appointment.
This service can be used to renew an adult or child passport, change a name on a passport, make changes to personal details, replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, or to apply for a first child passport.
This service costs £142 for an adult passport (or £152 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport), or £122 for a child passport (or £132 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport).
If you cannot use the online services you can book an appointment and pay over the phone if any of the following apply:
- you cannot use a computer, a smart phone or the internet
- you do not have a debit or credit card
You can contact the Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000 to book an appointment and pay.