I have been receiving an increasing number of emails from constituents reporting delays with their passport application or renewals.
I have written to the Minister to express my concerns at Home Office inaction and the impact this is having on constituents wanting to travel. Read my letter in full here:
Last year I also submitted formal Written Parliamentary Questions to the Home Office on expected delays and what steps are being taken to prepare for the increase in applications. You can view these and the responses I received here:
If you’re affected, how might I be able to help?
Unfortunately the current guidance is that people need to allow up to 10 weeks for standard passport processing.
If you have been waiting more than 10 weeks and are due to travel within 2 weeks, I can raise individual cases with the Home Office. Please get in touch with my office by email and make sure you include your full name, address in the constituency, date of birth, date of application and any reference numbers. Alternatively, if there are compassionate grounds for your need to travel urgently, please also include this supporting information.
The Home Office have provided MP offices with this information below:
”Since April 2021, Her Majesty’s Passport Office has advised its customers to allow up to ten weeks to get their passport. We cannot expedite a passport application ahead of others simply because a holiday date is approaching, as this would be to the detriment of other customers who have been waiting longer and have no lesser need for these services.
Where HM Passport Office has had a UK-based customer’s application for longer than ten weeks, and can evidence they are due to travel within the next fortnight, their application will be expedited. Should a constituent meet this criteria, or if there is an urgent need for passport services on compassionate grounds, an expedited application should be arranged via the Passport Adviceline (0300 222 0000).”
HM Passport Office have provided some guidance on steps people can take now to ensure they have their passport in time for their next trip abroad:
- Check your passport expiry date now if you plan to travel to give yourself plenty of time to renew your passport.
- Check Government guidance on passport application waiting times – in April, HM Passport Office changed the guidance on their website which now advises customers in the UK to allow up to 10 weeks to receive their passport. To help decision-making, HM Passport Office are also providing information about the typical processing times for applications completed in previous weeks, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-passport-office/about-our-services.
- If you are planning to travel to a country in Europe, you will need to check guidance on passport rules for British nationals travelling to Europe, as these have changed due to Brexit. HM Passport Office currently advises that on the day you travel you should have at least 3 months left on your passport. Your passport must also be less than 10 years old on the day after you leave. HM Passport Office’s guidance on this, including a tool to help work out whether you need to renew your passport before travelling to Europe, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe. This webpage also advises which countries these rules apply to.
- If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must meet the Schengen area rules: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/policies/schengen-borders-and-visa/schengen-area_en.
- PLEASE NOTE: The Government are asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022. Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date. You should therefore check both the issue date and the expiry date in your passport. If you renewed your passport early, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. This could affect the requirement for your passport to be less than 10 years old.
It is cheapest and easiest to apply online at: gov.uk/apply-renew-passport
For anyone needing a passport more quickly, they can pay for an urgent, guaranteed service (Online Premium or Fast Track) by booking an appointment online at: www.gov.uk/get-a-passport-urgently. Appointments can be booked up to three weeks in advance. Availability is limited by estates constraints and the need to keep our customers and staff safe
Urgent and compassionate applications will continue to be prioritised. If a customer in the UK needs a passport to travel urgently for medical treatment or because a friend or family member is seriously ill or has died, they should call our Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 000.
An expedited service is available to offer additional confidence to those who have pre-booked travel. Where a UK-based customer can evidence they are due to travel within the next fortnight, and where HM Passport Office has had their application for longer than ten weeks, subject to checks being satisfactorily completed their passport will be delivered within seven working days.
HM Passport Office have provided the following table which tells you what steps you should take depending on your situation and when you need to travel:
|If your constituent…||They should:|
|Applied in the UK less than 10 weeks ago and needs to travel soon||Track their application progress online at: www.gov.uk/track-passport-application|
|Has not applied yet from the UK but needs a passport sooner than 10 weeks||Consider whether to book an urgent 1 week Fast Track or Online Premium Service at: www.gov.uk/get-a-passport-urgently|
|Applied in the UK over 10 weeks ago and has proof of travel booked||Check the passport tracker on GOV.UK for instructions on expediting their application: www.gov.uk/track-passport-application|
|Is in the UK and needs a passport urgently for compassionate reasons||Call our Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 000 for our urgent and compassionate service
|Applied abroad and wants to travel urgently||Apply for an Emergency Travel Document at: www.gov.uk/emergency-travel-document. If the application has been with HM Passport Office for more than two weeks longer than the published processing time, the applicant should contact us to reimburse the ETD fee|
|Applied abroad and needs passport urgently for non-travel reasons (proof of ID requirements, access to health services etc.)||Check the application progress online checker for instructions on expediting their application: www.gov.uk/track-passport-application|