Don't Delay, Peak Season & Urgent Appointments

With sweltering heat over the early May Bank Holiday it is a sure sign we are now in peak passport season. May, June and July are certainly the busiest months over the Summer with December being peak season in Winter. These peak seasons see an incredible surge in passport applications as well as an enormous increase in urgent passport requests.

This May Bank Holiday an estimated 6 million people headed out on journeys, travelling to all corners of the globe, these holiday makers all needed to ensure they had all the relevant travel documentation as well as a valid passport.

These peak times do attract hordes of people and a huge back log of applications are unfortunately unavoidable. But, by knowing these peak times you can plan your travel arrangements in advance and prepare your passport application to avoid these times and if you can't avoid them how to ensure you get your passport on time. This will help ensure that that your travel plans are stress free and that you avoid any unnecessary delays.


Peak times

There are several peak periods throughout the year, to help you keep ahead of these peak times and ensure your application is received and processed in time take a note of these times and remember not to book any travel until you have received your passport.

Easter

The Easter holidays fall in late April and many schools, colleges and universities have two weeks off over Easter, meaning thousands of families want to try and take advantage of the long school break and try and get some sun before the British Summer.

May, June and July

These 3 months are certainly the busiest time of the year, with 2 Bank Holidays in May and with schools having 6 weeks or more off over July and August many travellers start sending applications in early May to mid-June. The millions of people wanting to travel abroad for guaranteed sun puts an enormous amount of pressure on The Passport Office and this is definitely reflected in the extended waiting times.

December

Christmas is obviously many peoples favourite festive season and millions of us Brits want some snow come Christmas morning and choose to fly abroad to ensure that happens. The Christmas rush tends to start in early November with the highest number of applications submitted seen around late November to early December, with everybody trying to avoid cancelling the booked holidays and avoiding disappointment.


Waiting times

If you were applying to renew or replace your existing passport off-peak you would normally be looking at about a 2-3 week turn around time, these waiting times will increase to 3-4 weeks when applying in peak season.

Urgent passport appointments will also have an increased waiting time. The waiting time for an urgent passport appointment off-peak is about 1-3 days this will dramatically increase to 5-7 days in peak season.

If you require an urgent passport appointment we have all the information you need to help you book your appointment on time.

1 Day Premium Service

When booking this service, you must attend most offices prior to 12pm in order to receive your passport the same day, those attending after this time will, in most cases, need to return the following (working day) to collect the new passport.

Please also bear in mind that when booking this service as stated above you can often only get an available appointment date within 5-7 days at the time of booking, therefore you will need to leave yourself enough time before your travel date.

Fast-Track 7 Day Service

When booking this service you must attend most offices prior to 12pm in order to receive your passport within the guaranteed 7 day period, those attending after this time will add an extra day to the processing time making it an 8 day service. When opting for the fast-track service you will attend the appointment in person, your new passport will then be sent to you via secure courier service within the guaranteed time frame.

Please also bear in mind that when booking this service as stated above you can often only get an available appointment date within 5-7 days at the time of booking, which often means that this service becomes a 9-14 day service from the date of booking.

Important: If you have lost your passport or it is damaged beyond reasonable wear and tear then you are only able to use the 1 Week Service (you are not able to use the 1 Day Premium Service).


Book appointments online

Booking an urgent passport appointment online is certainly quicker and very easy to do. Applying by phone can take roughly 5-10 minutes providing there is not a long queue waiting, applying online can be done in a matter of seconds.

To book an appointment and check availability at your local Passport Office use our [booking service] https://www.passports-office.co.uk/booking.asp

The Passport Office offer two types of urgent renewal service:

1 Day Premium Service
• Adults (16+) Renewal of a passport that is still in possession.

Fast-Track 7 Day Service
• Adults (16+) Renewal of a passport that is still in possession.
• Adults (16+) Lost, stolen of damaged passports.
• Children (0-15) First time passports and renewals.

Please note: These services are not available if you are applying for a first-time passport.

What to expect from your urgent passport appointment

Attending a Passport Office can be daunting if you have not been previously, so take a look below for some helpful information.


Before your appointment

Before the day of your appointment you must ensure you have the following:

• A correct and complete passport application form (you can get these from your Local Post Office)
• Two passport size photos, which adhere to the passport photo guidelines
• Countersigned photo and section 10 of the application
• All supporting documents - Current Passport, Birth/Marriage/Civil Partnership Certificates or Deed Poll Confirmation etc
• Booking reference number (do not forget you will need to present this to gain access to the office)

Arrival

Please ensure that you are between 10 and 15 minutes prior to your appointment, this is to allow enough time to get through security. You must also ensure that you have no sharp items, such as nail scissors, metal nail files or weapons of any kind; you may not be allowed to enter the building and attend your appointment if you do.

You will pass through security which is very similar to airport security, metal detector and an x-ray machine for your belongings. This is for the safety of the staff and the public.

Once you have passed through, you will be asked for your booking reference number, this is the number you are given when you make the initial appointment. You will then go on to a waiting area.


The appointment

Once you have been called up for your appointment you will need to give all your documents and photos over, the interviewer will then go through your application checking it is all correct as well as your supporting documents and photos, if all is well and they are satisfied with your application you will be given a receipt as confirmation.

Please remember that if your application is not correct or for whatever reason they are not happy with your application this can cause severe delays and you may not be able to have your passport in the time frame for the service you have chosen and may need to pay for another appointment or application. So it is very important that you have everything you need.

After the appointment

If you are using the 1 day Premium Service your passport will be ready within 4 hours and you will need to return after this time with the application receipt given to you previously by the clerk.

If you are using the 1 week Fast-Track Service your passport will be sent to your address within 7 days or for appointments after the offices cut-off time 8 days after the date of you appointment.


Is someone else submitting or collecting your application?

Many people are not aware that someone can attend your appointment on your behalf. There are many reasons why someone is not able to attend themselves and the Passport Office understands this. This is also true upon collecting the passport. In these situations you must ensure that the third party has all the relevant information with them, not doing so can result is them being turned away from the office.

They will need the following -

• Valid photo ID, e.g. passport, driving licence, or utility bill that's less than 3 months old

• A signed and dated letter from you, naming them and giving them permission to both submit and collect the passport on your behalf. (This letter must be signed & dated, it must also reference both the applicant and attendee with full names, for example it cannot read "I give permission to my mother to attend" it must read similar to "I Mr John Smith give permission to Mrs Julie Smith to both attend and collect my passport on my behalf".

• The application receipt (received when the cashier accepted the application)

• Booking reference number (do not forget you will need to present this to gain access to the office)


To book your urgent passport appointment online or for any further information please see here.

Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm


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Our blog is full of useful tips and interesting facts about the world of Passports and Travel.

Passports Office provides relevant information about new passports, renewing an existing passport, and the contact details of key UK passport offices.

This website is not affiliated with Her Majesty's Passport Office from which similar information is available from gov.uk. We are an independent service provider offering services & advice. We charge a service fee of £15.00, £19.00 or £29.00 per applicant, for further support in addition to HM Passport Office fees for your passport.

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