10-week wait for British passports as ‘getaway’ demand sees turnaround time tripled

The maximum time for processing British passports has been more than tripled due to an expected spike in demand (Home Office/PA) (PA Media)
17:26pm, Tue 06 Apr 2021
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The maximum time for processing British passport applications has more than tripled due to an expected spike in demand.

HM Passport Office is telling travellers to allow up to 10 weeks to receive the vital document, up from three weeks previously.

Under that timeline, someone applying on Wednesday might not receive their passport until June 16.

Please apply now so you can receive it in good time

Just four million people applied for a passport in 2020 amid the collapse in overseas travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is compared with around seven million during a normal year, suggesting there could be a rush of applications once the ban on holidays is lifted.

People whose passports are nearly expired will be sent text messages telling them to allow more time when they renew.

HM Passport Office director-general Abi Tierney said: “It is vital those who may need to apply for a new passport do so now. If you have delayed renewing your passport or are applying for the first time, please apply now so you can receive it in good time.

“Our dedicated staff work tirelessly to ensure that passport applications are processed as quickly as possible.

“This new advice will help to ensure that we continue to meet the travel plans of our customers during any period of the very highest passport demand.”

Overseas leisure travel from the UK is banned due to coronavirus lockdowns.

It could be permitted from May 17 under Boris Johnson’s road map for easing restrictions in England.

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