The government has tried to ease the strain of the huge demand for travel documents by employing 1,200 more staff and providing additional training to process a wider variety of applications. However, despite these efforts, demand for new passports continues to overwhelm the system.
Go2Africa confirms that there is currently a 10-week waiting time from the moment the application is made, to when you have your passport in hand. This is not the case for all applications, with 97% of all applications last week being completed within three weeks, compared to 75% last year, and 99% of all UK applications being finalised within the 10-week deadline.
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With life resuming to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem that its effects are long behind us. However, with the delayed renewal of passports it is evident that it is still causes problems at present. Due to the severe restrictions on air travel during the pandemic, many felt it an unnecessary time to look to renew their expired passports.
Two years later when international flights are resumed and restrictions removed, a surge of applications have come through to acquire a valid UK passport. The sheer volume of applications for this document has had its effect on the system, with what used to be a 3-week waiting time from the point of application to a 10-week waiting time for this important document.
However, it is worth bearing in mind this is worst case scenario. Recent figures show that 97% of all applications last week being completed within three weeks, compared to 75% last year, and 99% of all UK applications being finalised within the 10-week deadline.
Due to the decision to more than treble the passport processing deadline, the government urges people not to book trips until they actually have the passport in their hands. There is no saying if your passport application will be processed in three weeks or ten. According to last years figures, more than 400,000 people had to wait longer than 10 weeks for their passport to arrive. So don’t leave it to chance!
As such, Go2Africa suggest that if you are hopeful of flying during the easter break, begin your application now, with the Easter bank holiday creeping up rapidly with only seven and a half weeks to go. Those who need a passport by the summer should submit their application by 14 April, at the latest, if they want to be sure that they will be catching that long awaited and needed summer break. However, do not fret! If you fear that your passport won’t arrive in time or have started your application late, Go2Africa assures that the best months to visit Africa are in fact June through to October.
Whether you are planning to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration in East Africa, experience a Big 5 safari in the Kruger National Park or spend your honeymoon in the Seychelles, timing is important, especially with the passport crisis at present. Go2Africa’s guidelines are based on their expert, on-the-ground knowledge of Africa’s travel seasons.
How much does a new passport cost?
The cost for a ne passport has recently been updated. As of last week, the government increased the cost of a new passport by 10%.
Here’s exactly what you will be expected to pay for a new passport now:
- A standard online application (ordered domestically) rose from £75.50 50 £82.50 for adults and £49 to £53.50 for children
- Postal applications rose from £89 to £93 for adults and £58.50 50 £64 for children
- Priority service fees were aligned so all customers pay the same
To obtain your passport, this can be done online via the UK government website or through a paper form from a post office which you then post. It is important to note that you must send original documents or official copies of certificates, as photocopies are not accepted.
How can I get my passport faster?
There are, however, exceptions for those who urgently need to renew their passport. This can be achieved if you apply for the pricier one-week Fast Track service at a cost of £155.
Additionally, Go2Africa assure that for emergency travel, such as requiring medical treatment or because a friend or family member is seriously ill or has died, it is advised to call the ‘Passport Adviceline’ instead.
For a child’s fast-track passport, it’s £126 for the normal 30-pager, or £137 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport. You will need to book an appointment and attend this in London near Victoria Station. The earliest you can expect to get an appointment is 2 days from when you apply.