Passport processing times and unprecedented levels of demand

Passport processing times and unprecedented levels of demand

There is no backlog in passport processing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, we are now seeing unprecedented demand as more than 5 million people delayed applying for passports during COVID-19 because of restrictions in international travel. Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) anticipate 9.5 million British passport applications will be made this year and in March 2022 alone, HMPO processed more than one million new passport applications, the highest output on record.

In preparation for the demand for international travel returning, since April 2021 HMPO have been advising people to allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their British passport. This remains the case.

The vast majority of all passport applications are being dealt with well within 10 weeks. However, a passport can only be issued once all the checks have been completed satisfactorily and will take longer if applications are submitted with missing or incomplete information.

What is HMPO doing to meet this increased demand?

HMPO have prepared extensively for this surge in demand and have increased capacity – people and systems – across all elements of the production process. The priority is to ensure we can continue to process as many passport applications as possible.

To do this:

Customers can also help to ensure there are no delays with their application, such as using a high quality photo with a digital code, applying online and applying for a new passport more than 10 weeks before they are due to travel.

And it is important to stress, you should not book travel until you have a valid passport – your new passport will not have the same passport number as your old one.

Are HMPO staff working from home and is this affecting output?

Our dedicated staff are working tirelessly to deal with this unprecedented demand. Working from home has no impact on HMPO’s capacity to process passport applications.

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