As a result of the backlog caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, the Home Office informed UK citizens passport renewals might take up to 10 weeks.
The number of people applying for passports has increased significantly, as over 5 million people deferred their applications in 2020 and 2021, according to the HM Passport Office.
As a result, UK citizens waiting for passports may have to wait a long time.
Abi Tierney, Director General of HM Passport Office, said: “Now that international travel has resumed, we know people will be looking at going away on holiday and yet many people are leaving applying for a passport too late.
“The summer holidays are fast approaching so if you need a new passport, we urge you to apply now.
“Our dedicated staff are working tirelessly to ensure that passport applications are processed as quickly as possible.”
How do you renew your passport?
Renewing your passport is usually done when it has expired or if there is not enough time on it to go for a trip.
How much time you need on your passport depends on the country you’re visiting, the majority of countries require your passport to be valid for at least three months following the date you return home. Some require this to be at least six months.
It’s worth checking the rules for your destination well in advance via the UK Foreign Office’s travel, and check the rules for your airline as different companies may have different rules.
You can renew your passport online for £75.50, via the GOV.UK website, and you will need a digital photo, credit or debit card and your current passport.
You can also renew your passport via a paper application.
Paper applications are available via a post office that has a Check and Send Service or by calling the Passport Adviceline.
However, this is a more expensive method, costing £85, and payment can be done through debit or credit card or cheque. You will also need to supply 2 new and identical printed passport pictures of yourself.
Who delivers UK passports?
TNT, a compny owned by FedEX has an exclusive contract to deliever travel documents for the UK Passport Office.
After you have recieved a notification saying your passport has been printed, TNT say tracking will be available in “several working days”.
Passports need to be signed for so tracking will be invaluable to ensure you get your documents securely.
However, TNT say they are “experiencing a higher demand than expected for our delivery service. As a result, deliveries may take longer than usual.”
Can I fast track my passport renewal application?
There are some premium and fast track services for those who need a passport urgently, but these appointments have limited availability and high demand.
There is more information regarding the application process on gov.uk.
The one week fast track applications cannot be done online, so you will need to get a paper application form from a Post Office.
You will then need to book an appointment online and pay.
It costs £142 for an adult passport, or £152 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport and £122 for a child’s passport, or £132 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport.
Then you should fill in your application form and gather any documents before your appointment.
At your appointment, you will need two identical printed passport photos, the completed paper application form and supporting documents.