Peak times for Passport Applications

With the summer holidays fast approaching, many people and families have booked or are looking to book a holiday abroad. What you might not realise is that with so many people trying to get new passports or renew old ones the waiting times for receiving your passport goes up dramatically, as the passport office deal with the backlog of waiting passport applications.

The average waiting time to receive a UK passport via the standard postal service is 3-4 weeks but between the months of May and September this could go up to around 5-7 weeks.

First Time Adult Passports

If you've just broken up from school, collage or university and are looking to go on your first holiday abroad, you might like to know that the wait for a First UK Adult Passport is a little longer with an average overall processing time of 5-6 weeks, this is why it is very important to apply for your First Passport in good time leaving yourself at least 2 months before you are due to travel outside of the UK.

Important things to note about postal applications

The postal service is the standard way to apply or renew a British passport; you can obtain an application form from any main Post Office branch, simply fill in your application and be sure to read the guidance notes that accompany the form to save any delays due to mistakes.

If you are thinking of using the Post Office (Check & Send) service please be aware that this is NOT a fast-track service, it is simply a checking service the application is still sent via standard post and will still take up to 5 weeks to complete (see below regarding fast-track services)

Other peak travelling times of the year are also the Easter holidays, and the Christmas and New Year holidays. So please always allow extra time around these periods.

Please also note that there are no guarantees on timescales for the standard postal service, HM Passport Office can only offer a guideline timescale of 3-5 weeks. We advise that you do not book holiday/travel arrangements until you have received your passport, if however you already have a set travel date that you cannot change and have realised that you need an urgent passport application, you may want to use a premium or fast-track service, see below:

Urgent Emergency Passport Appointments

Urgent services are available to anyone who wants to renew a passport quickly, but we highly recommend them for those who are travelling in less than 4 weeks.

Urgent services are only available for:
• Passport Renewals
• Lost Stolen Passports
• Damaged Passports
• First Time (Child) Passports

Please note that you cannot book an urgent appointment if:
• You are applying for your First Time Adult Passport
• If you have an old (Blue Cover) Passport issued before 1995

Booking a Fast-Track Appointment

If you feel that booking an urgent service is the best option for you, you can do this online.


Please note that the urgent appointment service can get very busy at peak times, some local offices are only able to offer appointments up to 1 week in advance, and we would recommend booking your appointment as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 9am-5:30pm

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Passport Office Blog

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 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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