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When do urgent passport appointments become available?

TravelWhen do urgent passport appointments become available?

Desperate holidaymakers have been scrambling to get passports from the Passport Office as long delays caused by a backlog of applications after the coronavirus pandemic leave some wannabe travellers devastated. It comes after a senior Government source said Boris Johnson is ready to “privatise the arse” out of the Passport Office amid fears that families could miss out on their summer holidays due to delays in renewing their documents.

Asked if privatisation is the answer, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “I think the point the Prime Minister made, and he made it again last night, is that we’re neutral on the question of who does the provision.

“What we’re not neutral on – and what we want to see – is the service to the taxpayer and to the public being the very best value for money.

“Therefore, if we need to consider changing the controller of a particular service, that’s something that we’re willing to do. But I don’t think a decision has been taken either way on it.”

READ MORE: Passport chaos: Next day service now has two week delay

Why is it taking so long to get a passport?

Given the coronavirus pandemic thwarted international holidays, many of those whose passports went out of date during the pandemic did not bother to renew them immediately.

Now, with the first summer without any travel restrictions upon us, hopeful holiday-goers are scrambling to get their passports in time for upcoming breaks.

Post-Brexit travel rules are adding to traveller woes, as UK citizens are now required to have at least three to six months of validity remaining on their passports in order to travel to EU member states.

According to GOV.UK, it is now taking ten weeks for a passport to be issued – but there have been anecdotal reports of some people having to wait even longer.

With One Week Fast Track, your new passport will be delivered to you within a week of your appointment at the passport office.

You can use this service to renew both an adult or child passport as well as to make changes to your passport or to replace a lost or stolen passport.

However, both services are currently showing no appointments for all passport offices in the UK.

Appointments will become available periodically if another person cancels – so you should keep checking to see if an appointment becomes available near you. Unfortunately, they do not release these at set days or times, so you’re going to have to be patient and keep refreshing if you’re in need of booking a slot.

In the House of Commons on Monday it was raised by MPs that the new 10-week processing target was routinely being breached, with constituents forced to wait even longer for travel documents.

Immigration Minister Kevin Foster said the ending of restrictions had led to “unprecedented passport demand.”

He said: “To meet this, we have increased output to unprecedented levels.”
Mr Foster said HM Passport Office was “delivering record output”, and processed more than one million applications last month alone.

An HMPO spokesperson said: “Due to COVID-19, over five million people delayed applying for a British passport throughout 2020 and 2021.

“In preparation for the demand for international travel returning, since April 2021 our published guidance has made clear people should allow up to 10 weeks to get their passport.

“In busier periods, call waiting times will take longer. However, we continue to work with our supplier to further recruit and support the effort to return response times closer to normal levels.”

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