The warning has been issued by the Passport Office amid concerns there may be surge in applications once travel borders reopen – particularly as there was a drop in the number of applications processed last year. In 2020, there were 4 million passport applications in comparison to 7 million in 2019.
Text reminders will be sent by the Passport Office to those whose passports are due to run out of date. It comes as international travel restrictions could be relaxed from 17 May, although this is yet to be confirmed by the Government and depends on a review. See our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide for full info.
You can apply for a new passport or renew an existing online or by post
You can apply for a new passport or renew an existing one either online or by post. You’ll be sent one of the new blue-style passports in both scenarios. Just be aware that you can’t transfer any unused months on an existing passport over to your new one. Until September 2018, you could transfer up to a maximum of nine months. See the points below and our Passport Renewal Tips guide for further info.
- To renew or apply for a passport online: You can apply via Gov.uk. Once you’ve filled in the online form, you’ll be asked to pay a fee of £75.50.
- To renew or apply for a passport by post: You will need to get a paper application form from either a Post Office that offers the ‘Passport Check and Send’ service or by calling the passport advice line on 0300 222 0000. The cost of a paper application is £85.
But be warned that if you’re scheduled to travel on the 17 May there’s no guarantee you’ll get your new or renewed passport back in time. If you are travelling for urgent reasons – such as for essential work or on compassionate grounds – you may, however, be able to get your application fast-tracked. You can phone the passport helpline on 0300 222 0000 to find out.
You may also want to contact your holiday provider and explain the situation to see if it’ll let you move your trip. It’s possible that some travel firms, airlines or hotels may let you move your booking to show ‘forbearance’ in certain circumstances, though they’re not obliged to. Of course, if travel restrictions are still in place anyway then you should still be able to get a refund or claim on your insurance in the usual way.
Alternatively, if you’ve only paid a small deposit for a trip and don’t have a valid passport, it may be worth cancelling the trip and not paying the remaining balance, if you’re not confident you’ll be able to get your passport renewed on time. This will mean losing the deposit you’ve already paid though.