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Brits warned over passport waiting list ahead of holiday ban being lifted

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Brits have been warned that that waiting time for new passports has tripled which could result in you missing out on your holiday when travel resumes.

HM Passport Office is telling travellers to allow up to 10 weeks to receive their documents, in comparison to the usual three-week wait.

Around seven million applications are made for a UK passport in a normal year, however due to the coronavirus pandemic just four million people applied in 2020 amid travel restrictions.

And now due to an unexpected spike in demand, the waiting times have increased.

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HM Passport Office director-general Abi Tierney said: “It is vital those who may need to apply for a new passport do so now. If you have delayed renewing your passport or are applying for the first time, please apply now so you can receive it in good time.

“Our dedicated staff work tirelessly to ensure that passport applications are processed as quickly as possible.

“This new advice will help to ensure that we continue to meet the travel plans of our customers during any period of the very highest passport demand.”

Overseas travel is currently banned but Brits could be permitted to book holidays from next month as restrictions across the UK begin to ease.

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The change in rules means industry experts are expecting a surge in demand as people rush to file passport applications as holiday bans are lifted in the UK.

Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “With the ban on international travel it’s easy to forget about your passport, but it’s vitally important that you check its validity if you are even considering a trip in the next few months.

“The significant drop in the number of people applying for a passport last year means we could see a sudden spike in demand when we can all start travelling again.

“That, and changes due to Brexit, could mean you need to apply for a new passport sooner than you think.

“If your passport is not up to date when you are due to travel, you will lose the money for your flight or holiday as your provider will not refund you and insurance will not cover you for the error.”

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