How long does it take to get a passport in the UK?
Applying for a passport has become a priority for many as we begin to travel again post-pandemic, but the influx of applications means a backlog of appointments, with many waiting weeks to get their new passport in spring 2022. And the change in EU rules means travellers need to be extra cautious when leaving the UK, as they’ll need to have enough time left on their passport to complete their trip.
Here’s what you need to know about passport processing times, and what to do if you’ve left it until the last minute to apply.
How long does it take to get a passport?
The usual turnaround for a passport is around five weeks, but according to the government website, you should allow 10 weeks to receive your passport if you’re applying from the UK (those applying from other countries will experience different wait times).
What is the current wait time for a UK passport?
While you should expect to receive your new passport within 10 weeks of applying, some have reported longer waiting times in the early months of 2022. According to the Home Office, this is because people failed to check their passports during the pandemic, when five million passports went out of date. For that reason, they say last-minute applications are now causing a backlog.
It’s unclear how long this delay will last, but the advice is to check your passport and, if you’re approaching your renewal date, get your application in ASAP.
How long does a fast track take for a passport?
The government offers a fast track service, which should return your new passport to you within a week. The service costs £142 for an adult passport (or £152 for a 50-page frequent traveller passport) or £122 for a child passport (or £132 for a 50-page frequent traveller passport), although this service can only be used to renew a passport, change personal details, replace a stolen or lost passport or for a first child passport.
However, due to the current backlog, it’s possible that you’ll be waiting longer, even if you pay for faster service. Those trying to renew their passport in recent weeks have reported difficulties in booking an appointment, so it’s worth allowing extra time where possible.
What are the new passport rules?
Since leaving the EU in January 2020, travellers with a UK passport travelling to any European Union country (except Ireland) or Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or Vatican City must ensure that their passport is less than 10 years old on the day of entry, and is valid for three months after the planned end date of the trip.
So, for example,if you’re planning to travel in summer 2022 and will return to the UK on 31 July, you should ensure that your passport is valid until at least 31 October 2022.
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