It seems obvious, but before you jet off on your holiday, try not to forget the most important item on your travel check-list – your passport! The summer months see demand for passports increase up to threefold compared to the winter. Check it is valid in advance of your trip and don’t book that trip without first ensuring it is in date.
We asked Paul Pugh, Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Passport Office, to give us some helpful pointers about passport validity. Much of this advice applies to those who own, or are applying for a British passport. Conditions, waiting times and prices may vary depending on your nationality.
- Visit www.gov.uk/passport-fees for the fees of our standard services and www.gov.uk/get-a-passport-urgently for the fees of our more urgent services (Fast Track one-week and Premium one-day services).
- Customers must book an appointment at a Passport Customer Service Centre to use these services. After the appointment, customers can get their passport on the same day or within a week depending on which service they choose. It can cost as much as £55.50 more to renew a standard passport using the Premium service.
The infographic below highlights the different costs associated with getting a new or replacement passport.
- The off-peak season for passports runs from September until February, while the busy summer period is between March and August. During the summer season, demand for new and replacement passports rises by up to three times as much as during off-peak winter months. In December last year there were 175,174 applications, but there are expected to be more than 560,000 in July this year for example.
The following infographic compares numbers of passport applications in December last year and predicted numbers for July this year, broken down by our standard, Fast Track and Premium services:
- Statistically, those aged 16 to 20 are the most likely to leave it until the last minute to apply for an adult passport, with about 70,000 applying last July alone.
- HM Passport Office urges customers to check their passports in good time. We recommend applying early through postal routes using an application form which is available online, in a Post Office or from the advice line.
- For an extra £8.75, the Post Office will help you fill out the form with their Check & Send Service, which can reduce errors and help avoid delays. Customers should try not to rely on a last minute call to the Passport Office as they can face up to £55.50 extra in cost for emergency counter services.
- Travellers should allow at least three weeks to renew an adult or child’s passport. This isn’t a guarantee, so apply as early as you can. Customers applying for the first time should allow at least six weeks to get a first UK adult passport as they will need to undertake an interview, and at least three weeks for a child, but it can take longer.
- HM Passport Office advises customers not to book travel until they have a valid passport.
Customers can renew their passport in one of three ways:
- Fill in the form online – HM Passport Office will post it back to you to check and sign.
- Get one from a Post Office that offers the Passport Check & Send service.
- Ask the Passport Advice line (0300 222 0000) to post you one.
Finally, it goes without saying that passports should be kept safe at all times in order to avoid having to reapply. The passport holder should decide on an appropriate safe place to keep their passport.
Prices are based on UK Passports, and are correct as of August 2013.