Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) has had to bring in some changes to account for the fact 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.
Essentially, many people have been grounded due to travel restrictions as a response to COVID-19, and now that some restrictions are being lifted, a lot of them will be keen to get travelling.
So what is changing?
So, 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 4 weeks for renewal applications, it will expedite their application so that it is delivered within 5 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 have said that their aim is to ensure that anyone with pre-planned travel does not miss out if their passport application has been submitted correctly and in good time.
It is important to remember that the guidance still remains that people should not book travel until they have received their passport.
How about Overseas Applicants?
Overseas applicants who have an urgent need to travel will, as usual, be able to approach the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD). Where HMPO has had a passport application for 2 weeks longer than normal service standards, it will invite customers to contact the Home Office to arrange a refund of the cost of the ETD.
HMPO is encouraging everyone who needs to apply to do so online.
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