Passport office says it will fast-track renewals if you’re due to travel in 2 weeks

Jul 27, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we go about our day-to-day lives — especially as it pertains to our travel habits. And with that, the ability to get or renew a passport has been delayed, as the number of people working at passport sites has been reduced.

Since the start of the pandemic, Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) has remained open, though has prioritised those most in need of passport services. Now, due to increased pressure from would-be travellers, when a U.K.-based customer can provide evidence that they are due to travel within the next two weeks and HMPO has had the traveller’s application for longer than four weeks, it will expedite the application so that it’s delivered within five working days.

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The new policy applies only to those applications for a passport renewal. For new adult passport applications, HMPO said that required security checks will take longer than renewals, but so long as the application “has been submitted correctly and in good time”, it will attempt to get to the application in time.

“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”, the government said in a statement.

The office says that if someone finds themselves in a situation that sees them not having their passport application or renewal approved in time for their holiday plans, they should contact the Passport Advice line on 0300 222 0000.

For now, the application and renewal process isn’t changing — the HMPO still advises travellers to submit their application online with the correct documentation. Additionally, the office is advising would-be travellers not to book anything until they have received their passport.

Related: How and when to renew your passport

If you’re not planning to travel this summer, the HMPO is asking that you hold your passport application or renewal until after the busy summer travel period. The summer months are typically the office’s busiest time of the year, and given the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent reduced staffing, the passport office has been forced to scale back its operation.

Currently, the HMPO says that it has a backlog of more than 400,000 applications.

Related: How to get a second British passport

During the coronavirus pandemic, HMPO said that it has issued more than 6,500 passports for individuals on compassionate and emergency grounds.

Featured photo by belterz/Getty Images.

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