Drive American

Published on Saturday, July 25, 2020

Govt: 'Don't book overseas travel unless your passport is up to date'

People who need to renew their passport should not book an overseas holiday until they've got their replacement, the Home Office has warned.

The appeal, from Home Office department Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO) follows news earlier this week that it is dealing with a backlog of 400,000 applications because of Covid-19.

Social distancing rules have meant that fewer staff are able to work. HMPO said 126,000 applications are being worked on, while another 284,000 are in the queue to be processed.

About 6,500 have been issued on emergency or compassionate grounds.

As well as asking people to hold off booking until they have received their passport, HMPO is urging those who don't need to renew right now to wait until after the summer.

But the process will be sped up for anyone who can provide evidence they are due to travel within the next two weeks.

HMPO said: "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.

"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.

"Therefore, where a UK-based customer can evidence they are due to travel within the next fortnight, and where HMPO has had their application for longer than four weeks for renewal applications, it will expedite their application so that it is delivered within five working days.

"For adults applying for a passport for the first time, the required security checks mean that the process will take longer than renewals but HMPO are working hard to ensure that anyone with pre-planned travel does not miss out if their passport application has been submitted correctly and in good time.

"However, as HMPO always says, people should not book travel until they have received their passport and that advice still stands."

Anyone overseas applying for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) can get a refund if the service takes longer than normal.

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