Jacob Rees Mogg discusses civil servants amid passport delays
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While the Home Office typically receives seven million passport applications over the course of a year, it is reported to have received one million in the last month alone. Britons are now facing much lengthier wait times and risks that many might miss out on holiday bookings loom. Government ministers are urging members of the public to renew their passports “as soon as possible”.
As many as five million Britons are said to have postponed renewing their passports during the pandemic, with the Passport Office attributing the surge to the lift of Covid restrictions.
Post-Brexit travel rules are adding to this pressure, as UK citizens are now required to have at least three months of validity remaining on their passports before travelling to EU member states.
Ben Bradshaw, former Cabinet minister and member of the Transport Select Committee, said: “Yet again, the Home Office and Priti Patel have been asleep on the job.
“Anyone could have predicted that after two years of travel restrictions there would be a big surge in passport renewals and applications.
“Yet there seems to have been no planning for this, meaning thousands of families who have been looking forward to seeing loved ones again or having a holiday are having those hopes dashed.”
It was heard in the Commons on Monday that a new 10-week processing target was routinely being breached, with constituents forced to wait months for new travel documents.
Stephanie Peacock, Labour MP for Barnsley East, raised the case of a mother who submitted her daughter’s passport application in January – more than five months in advance of their holiday next week – is still yet to receive one.
Home Office minister Kevin Foster said: “We would advise people this is a very, virtually unprecedented surge in demand, and if people are planning to travel this summer we would advise them to get their application in as soon as possible.”
So, to make sure you’re able to jet off as and when you plan to, Express.co.uk has compiled some key information to consider when organising your travel documents.
How can I renew my passport?
To apply for a British passport, replace a lost one or renew an old one, you’ll need to fill out an application form at gov.uk.
The renewal fee is £75.50 online, and you’ll need to have a digital photo, credit or debit card, and other various details and documents depending on what you’re hoping to do out of the three options above.
If it’s a renewal, you’ll need your old passport to hand, and if it’s a first-time passport, you may need a referee to prove who you are.
If you’d prefer to apply for a new passport by post, simply pay your local Post Office a visit to pick up the forms.
You’re less likely to be rejected if you use the Post Office’s Passport Check and Send service. To find out where your nearest service is based, click here.
To apply for a passport via post, the fee increases slightly to £85. Although, passports are cheaper for those under 16 years of age, coming in at a fee of £49 online or £58.50 by post.
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How long will my passport take to arrive?
For those who have applied for a passport online and living in the UK, you’re advised to allow at least 10 weeks for it to arrive.
It’s important not to book any travel abroad until you receive your passport as you’ll be given a new passport number.
However, given the “unprecedented” surge in passport applications, it’s advised you submit your form well in advance of the 10-week suggested period to ensure it arrives on time for any trips.
How many months are needed on my passport to make it valid in the EU?
There are two requirements for a British passport to be valid for travel in the European Union. These include:
- Your passport must have been issued less than 10 years ago
- It must be valid for three months after the planned end date of your trip
For example, if you’re planning to visit an EU country with intentions to leave the UK on July 5, 2022, your passport must be valid until at least October 5, 2022.
Other countries outside of Europe may have similar rules in place for UK citizens, so make sure to check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) exact travel advice for your destination before you book.
However, ome airlines have different rules. One of Europe’s biggest budget airlines, easyJet, insists travellers must have at least six months left till expiry; so make sure to check the regulations provided by your airline, too.
How to get an urgent passport renewal
There is also an option to get an urgent passport renewal – this is in place for those who need to change details such as marital surnames, replace a lost or stolen passport, or if you need to travel urgently.
In order to apply for this, you’ll need to go to your local Post Office to get hold of an application.
You’ll then need to book an appointment at the Passport Office, either online or by phone – you’ll have to pay when you book.
Appointments can be booked up to three weeks in advance, although this fast-track option does come at a higher cost.
For the online premium booking service, it costs £177 for an adult passport or £187 for a 50-page frequent traveller passport.
With this option, you’ll receive your new passport during the appointment you booked.
By using the one-week fast-track option, where your passport is said to arrive at your address within one week of your appointment, costs are slightly less.
It costs £142 for an adult passport or £152 for a 50-page passport for those who travel more frequently.
Children’s passports cost £122, or £132 for the 50-page option.
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