Passports have faced major delays when it comes to renewals in recent months. New figures show more than 400,000 Britons are still waiting for a renewed passport. This has spelt particularly bad news for those with holidays booked and urgently need a valid passport to travel.
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Yesterday, in a summer holiday boost, the Home Office announced the renewal of passports would be expedited for those in need.
During lockdown, Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) have had to reduce the number of people working on site in order to maintain social distancing.
Certain Britons were able to get their hand on passports during this time.
The Home office said it had issued more than 6,500 passports for individuals on compassionate and emergency grounds.
However, it recognises that with summer holidays in full swing, more and more British travellers will need a passport after thousands expired during lockdown.
“HMPO recognises that an increasing number of people who do not meet the urgent and compassionate criteria will want a passport more quickly as international travel restrictions continue to ease, particularly those with pre-existing bookings,” said the Home Office in a statement.
For those who need it, passports can be now be renewed within five days.
To be eligible for this, jet-setters need to be due to travel within the next two weeks.
“Where a UK-based customer can evidence they are due to travel within the next fortnight, and where HMPO has had their application for longer than four weeks for renewal applications, it will expedite their application so that it is delivered within five working days,” explained the Home Office.
Britons should note that if applying for the first time, security checks will slow the process down.
The government detailed: “For adults applying for a passport for the first time, the required security checks mean that the process will take longer than renewals but HMPO are working hard to ensure that anyone with pre-planned travel does not miss out if their passport application has been submitted correctly and in good time.”
Those in need should contact the Passport Advice line on 0300 222 0000.
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Britons are encouraged to apply for a new passport online and ensure they are “sending in the right documentation, have filled in the form accurately, and ensure their photo meets the correct specifications, as this will also speed up the process.”
However, the Home Office is urging only those who really need a new passport to apply at the moment.
“What HMPO is also asking is that if people do not need to renew right now, then they should wait until after Summer,” it explained.
“This is always a busy time and with the added difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, HMPO has had to scale back its operation.
“But it is working hard to get services fully resumed as soon as possible.
The UK government continues to advise against booking travel unless you have an in-date passport.
“Do not book travel until you have a valid passport – doing so is at your own risk,” warned the Home Office.
“Your new passport will not have the same number as your old one.”
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