UK passport applications will be fast-tracked in five days for Britons going on holiday in the next two weeks – as government battles with 400,000 Covid backlog
- If you have been waiting more than a month and are due to travel within two weeks, you will receive your passport within five days under new measures
- Plans announced by Home Office as coronavirus backlog passed 400,000
- Demand for passports soars as Government relaxes foreign travel restrictions
- Government urges people not to book holidays until they have a valid passport
UK passport applications that have been delayed by the backlog caused by the coronavirus will be expedited if people are due to go on holiday within two weeks, the Government has announced.
The Passport Office said that, in an effort to tackle the backlog and ensure people’s travel plans are not affected, customers who have been waiting for more than four weeks will receive their passport within five working days.
The new measures, which come into effect immediately, will require applicants to prove they are due to travel within two weeks.
The Home Office has announced new measures to tackle the passport backlog caused by coronavirus pandemic which means customers may receive their passport within five working days if they’ve been waiting for more than a month and are due to travel within two weeks
Britons applying for passports are having to wait up to four months for their applications to be processed but new rules mean their application could be expedited if they meet requirements
The announcement comes after latest figures revealed Passport Office workers are wrestling with a backlog of more than 400,000 applications as a result of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reduced staffing to allow for social distancing means forms are taking longer than usual to process, according to the Home Office.
The Passport Office is struggling to get its 2,000 staff members back in the office because of the guidelines, meaning some Britons are having to wait four months for new documents.
It follows the relaxation of Foreign Office guidance on non-essential overseas travel and quarantine rules, paving the way for foreign holidays to destinations including Spain, Germany, France and Italy.
In an update issued yesterday, the Home Office said it recognises that an increasing number of people who do not meet the urgent and compassionate criteria will want a passport more quickly as restrictions continue to ease, particularly those with pre-existing bookings.
It added that for adults applying for a passport for the first time, the required security checks mean the process will take longer than those getting their passport renewed.
But it insisted that staff would work hard to ensure anyone with pre-planned travel does not miss out if their passport application ‘has been submitted correctly and in good time’.
They said more than 6,500 passports had been issued to individuals on compassionate and emergency grounds during the coronavirus lockdown.
These new measures will not impact those applying for passports under emergency and compassionate ground.
The relaxation of Foreign Office guidance on non-essential overseas travel and quarantine rules paved the way for foreign holidays to destinations including Spain, Germany and Italy
Passport Office is struggling to get staff back in the office because of distancing guidelines
Earlier this week, the Government revealed that work was under way on about 126,000 passport applications – 31 per cent higher than at the same period last year.
They added 284,000 applications were still to be processed – a 172 per cent from last year.
The Passport Office insists people should not book travel until they have received their passport.
HMPO is encouraging everyone who needs to apply to do so online as this does help speed up the process.
A spokesman said: ‘It is vital that everyone applying thoroughly checks that they are sending in the right documentation, have filled in the form accurately, and ensure their photo meets the correct specifications, as this will also speed up the process.
‘But what HMPO is also asking is that if people do not need to renew right now, then they should wait until after Summer.
‘This is always a busy time and with the added difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, HMPO has had to scale back its operation.
‘But it is working hard to get services fully resumed as soon as possible.’