Renew passports early, holidaymakers advised

HM Passport Office has launched a campaign encouraging travellers to apply for passports in advance of their summer holiday to save money and avoid unwanted stress.

Whether lying on a secluded beach, visiting family overseas, hiking in the hills or a city business trip is on the to-do list this summer, people are being advised to make sure they do not miss out by leaving their passport applications to the last minute.

The demand for first-time or renewed passports surges by up to three times during the summer holidays. This month is expected to see 560,000 passport applications, compared to 175,174 in December last year.

Paul Pugh, Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Passport Office, said: “We are urging travellers not to forget the most important item on your travel checklist this year – your passport. The summer months see demand for passports increase up to threefold compared to the winter. Check it is valid in advance of your trip and don’t book that trip without first ensuring it is in date.

“We work hard to process more than 5.5 million applications each year, so help us to help you have a smooth trip this year.”

The demand for passports is being met with the help of extra staff who have been recruited for the busy period, but there are limited numbers of appointments at passport offices for fast track and premium services.

HM Passport Office advises customers to check their passports well ahead of their travel plans so that they can take advantage of easy to use postal route.

Customers can renew their passport in one of three ways

– Fill in the form online – HM Passport Office will post it back to you to check and sign.

– Get one from a Post Office that offers the Passport Check & Send service where they help you fill out the form for an extra £8.75.

– Ask the Passport Advice line (0300 222 0000) to post you one.

Not only will using one of these options make for a stress-free summer but customers will save up to £52 in added costs for emergency counter services.

Holidaymakers and business travellers are advised to allow at least three weeks for their passport to arrive using the postal service. First time passport applicants should allow up to six weeks as they will need to have an interview.

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