How long are passports taking to renew?
This article aims to provide the most up to date information in regards to processing times, as well as some tips and advice for the different ways you can both apply for a first time and renew a British passport in the quickly.
Many other older articles online will quote the standard average time of "Around four to six weeks", however this is no longer the case due to the following in 2023:
• Increased security measures, which add time to the passport printing process.
• A surge in applications since the start of 2022, which is still effecting the application backlog.
• Introduction of new passport designs, this change for the new blue passports has also caused significant changed to the way passports are produced.
• In addition to this there have been many Post office strikes in 2022 continuing into Jan/Feb 2023 which are also effecting delivery of forms to HM Passport Office to start the application process.
Many people especially those applying for first time passports, often find themselves asking the question "How long does it take to renew a passport in the UK?", well this article will help you address the different processing times for each of the methods of applying for a passport.
(!) Important: You cannot change your method of applying or upgrade to the urgent service once your application is sent
Once you apply for a passport, either by post, online you cannot change your mind or apply via another method half way through or if it does not arrive in time
This is why you must check up on the average processing times for each passport application method before you apply to establish if this will meet your needs for travel dates, or for ID purposes as there is nothing you can do once the application has been sent.
HM Passport Office is responsible for issuing and renewing passports, due to the above reasons the average time it takes to renew a British passport has increased but the time frames can vary depending on how you apply.
Passport Renewals / First Time Applications By Post
Average waiting times for passport applications via post in 2023 are:
Adult passport renewal times 6-8 weeks, due to recent backlogs it can still take up to 8 weeks to receive your renewal passport, for this reason we would advise if you are traveling in less than 2 months to use an urgent fast-track service.
(!) Its also important to note that using the Post Office Check & Send is not a fast track service, all they do is check the forms prior to sending them, it still take 6-8 weeks once they have checked, see more information on the Post Office Check & Send.
What can slow down my passport form sent by post?
One of the most common mistakes is failing to sign the form correctly, the signature is an important part of the application, and without it, the passport office will not be able to process the application. It is important to make sure that the signature is clear and legible, and that it is signed in the correct place.
Incorrect or incomplete information can also cause delays, all of the information on the form must be accurate and up-to-date. Any errors on a passport form and/or the supporting documents will need to be corrected before the application can be processed.
Another mistake that can cause delays is not including all of the necessary supporting documents. All applications must include two passport-sized photographs, and if itís a first time application a valid birth certificate, and If any of these documents are missing, the passport office will not be able to process the application.
Finally, it is important to make sure that the application is sent to the correct address. Sending the application to the wrong address can cause delays, the form will come with its own self addressed envelope, however you can send your form to any of the main passport offices if this is lost.
Passport Renewals / First Time Applications Online
Average waiting times for passport applications online in 2023 are:
Adult passport renewal times 6-7 weeks, due to recent backlogs it can still take up to 7 weeks to receive your renewal passport, doing this online can give you a small benefit in that fact that the post does not get effected by delays or recent Royal Mail strike actions getting to the passport office, you will also be required to submit your photos and and counter-signatures are done online so there is no waiting for anyone to do this by hand as with postal applications.
What can slow down my online application?
When filling out your passport application online, it is important to double-check all the information you provide. Even small mistakes on passport forms, such as typos, can cause delays in the processing of your application. For example, if you provide an incorrect date of birth or address, your application may be rejected and you will have to start the process again.
It is also important to provide the correct contact details and email address. If you do not provide a valid email address, you may not receive important notifications about your application, such as when it has been approved or rejected. This can cause delays in the processing of your application.
In addition, if you provide an incorrect phone number or mailing address, the passport office may not be able to contact you if there are any issues with your application, this can also lead to delays in the processing of your application.
Fast Track Services
Fast-track services will guarantee your passport within 7 days (from your appointment date)
(!) Important if you are traveling or need your passport for ID purposes within the next 8 weeks, we advise to book an appointment for the urgent fast-track service. This is due to the fact that if you make an application via post or online, it is not then possible to change to a fast-track half way through, you will not be able to do anything and this may ruin your plans, so if you are unsure book an urgent passport service from the start.
The fast-track one week service can be used for:
• First time child passports (under the age of 16)
• Renewal of adult and child passports
• Lost or stolen passports
(!) You cannot use the urgent services for first time adult passports, for this the 6-8 week is the only option
(!) Warning to parents if your child is soon to be 16, if your child has just turned 16 or will be within 2 weeks of the passport application date then they will not be able to use the fast-track one week service if they have never has a passport before.
What can effect my fast-track passport appointment?
If you are applying for a passport, it is important to be aware that an urgent passport appointment can be delayed if you fail to turn up at the allotted appointment time, or if you do not bring a completed passport application form and required supporting documents.
In addition to arriving on time for your appointment, it is also important to bring a completed passport application form and any necessary supporting documents, these documents may include the previous passport (if a renewal), birth certificate (if a first time application for a child only), and proof of citizenship, such as a naturalization certificate (if required). If you do not bring the necessary documents, your appointment may be delayed or cancelled.
If you miss your appointment or do not provide the correct documentation, you will lose your appointment and forfit the fee paid. It is important to be aware of this before making an appointment, as it can be difficult to reschedule an urgent passport appointment.
Tracking an existing passport application
If you have already sent your passport application and are looking for ways to find out how long it might take or ways that you can get an update see our article on tracking a passport application