BRITS are being warned to get passport applications in now ahead of a “spring surge” that is expected later this year.
Last year was the first year travel returned to normal following the pandemic, which resulted in a lot of passports being renewed.
In fact, the number of people waiting more than ten weeks for a passport application to be processed rose eight times the normal amount last year.
According to the Times, the amount of passport applications that took more than ten weeks to process rose from 0.66 per cent in 2021 to 4.66 per cent in 2022.
Meanwhile, back in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, that number was just 0.23 per cent.
The huge backlog was created by a massive surge in applications after Covid travel restrictions were scrapped, allowing people to go abroad more freely.
There were 1.2 million applications made in May last year alone, causing huge queues and increasing processing times.
That left more than 400,000 people waiting longer than ten weeks for their passports, with some missing their holidays because of the delays.
Now, to avoid similar problems this year, holidaymakers are being urged to make sure their passports are valid for this summer and to get applications for any new passports in as soon as possible.
Thomas Greig, director of passports, citizenship and civil registration at HMPO, told MPs that processing times were back to normal for the time being.
However, that could soon change, particularly as a million more passports are expected to be processed in the first half of the year.
Speaking to MPs last month, the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office Matthew Rycroft, said they would “need to be ready for next year to be even busier” when it came to passport renewals.
Rycroft added: “Now would be a very good time for anybody listening [to renew their passports]” and warned that there could be “an extra million” applications than normal in only the first half of next year.
Director General of HM Passport Office, Abi Tierney previously said that people shouldn’t delay if they know they will need a new passport.
She said last year: “Now that international travel has resumed, we know people will be looking at going away on holiday and yet many people are leaving applying for a passport too late.
“If you need a new passport, we urge you to apply now.”
For those applying, there are lots of different ways in which your application could be rejected, so it’s best to make sure you’ve got everything in order before sending it off.
Those include, wearing sunscreen, glasses, piercings and make-up.
Meanwhile, there are ways to fast-track your passport application if you need to.
And this traveller created a clever method to beat the fast-track queues that could come back this year.
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