Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) is warning today of increased processing time in applications for British passports.

HMPO is urging people to “not delay” and allow up to 10 weeks for the application to be processed because of the expected increase in demand in the next few weeks.

It is currently illegal to holiday overseas with the “Stay in the UK” regulation in place. As per the roadmap, international travel will not be allowed until May 17 at the earliest.

HMPO says that during the pandemic there has been a significant drop in the number of people applying for passports. In a normal year it processes around seven million passport applications, however in 2020 just over four million people applied for their passport.

Director General of Her Majesty’s Passport Office, 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.”

HMPO says it will be sending text messages to people whose passports are nearing expiration to let them know to allow more time when they renew.