Renewing your passport before leaving the country is crucial to avoid being caught out while travelling, but it could take you longer than expected if you haven’t already applied. Her Majesty’s Passport Office is facing a severe backlog after more than five million people delayed renewing their documents during the pandemic. But exactly how long should you expect to wait? These are the current processing times for passport renewals in the UK.
How long will it take to renew your passport?
The Government has urged Britons heading abroad to apply for new and renewed passports “as soon as possible”, to avoid travel disruption as a result of processing delays.
While HM Passport Office has a target waiting time of 10 weeks, MPs have warned that this has been repeatedly missed in recent weeks.
Applicants who are applying for a UK passport renewal from outside of the country should expect to wait even longer for the request to be processed.
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When to renew your passport
While the UK was in the European Union, British passports were valid up to and including their expiry date for travel within the EU, though this has since changed due to Brexit.
British passport holders are now regarded as ‘third country nationals’ with stipulations about passport issues and expiry dates now in force almost everywhere in Europe.
This includes popular tourism destinations such as Portugal and Greece, which require non-EU nationals to carry a passport which:
- Is valid for at least three months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting
- Was issued within the previous 10 years
How to renew your passport
Renewing your passport is a relatively easy process, though the time it takes to be completed could vary under the current circumstances.
You can submit a renewal application either online or by post.
Submitting a passport renewal request online costs £75.50 for an adult passport and £49 for a child.
To complete the service form, you will need a digital photo, a credit or debit card and your current passport.
In order to complete the process by post, you will need to collect the application form from a post office that offers the Check and Send service.
If you can’t get to your local post office, you can call the Passport Advice line instead.
For this method, you will need to provide two identical printed photos to be used in your new passport.
Submitting your renewal application by post costs £85, payable by cheque to “Her Majesty’s Passport Office” or by credit or debit card.
The post office Check and Send process can be used to ensure your application fulfils all necessary requirements before being submitted, though it will cost you an additional £16.