How Long Does It Take to Get a Passport in the UK?
When it comes to processing and waiting time, there are several important factors to bear in mind. Whether you’re applying for a first-time adult or child passport, or going through the renewal process, overall terms will differ. That said, the passport office offers some options (such as expedited and premium services) that help plan ahead and get documents sooner.
All in all, there are four different scenarios (and two options to expedite the process)–click on your scenario to get an estimate of how long you will have to wait.
How Long Does It Usually Take to Get a Passport?
In the year 2022, when international travel wasn’t restricted anymore, the HM Passport Office faced so many post-COVID applications that it had to increase staff numbers by hundreds in order to handle the unprecedented demand. Back then, the official wait times were up to 10 weeks, and many had to wait even more than that. There have also been delays connected with the strikes that took place more recently.
According to the government, however, getting your travel document today takes about 3 weeks. This, however, seems to be the worst-case scenario in most cases. While this waiting time applies to all applications (i.e. it doesn’t matter if it’s the first time or you need passport renewal), it can still be influenced by several factors. For example, it depends on the type of application and how you apply–and can change based on specific circumstances.
That said, it seems that the government tends to exaggerate the wait times (probably, to be on the safe side). What actually happens is that you can get your passport in as little as 12 days! Although it still depends on many factors, so let’s break down each scenario.
Before we go into details, please remember that the best practice is to plan your journey using the worst-case scenario. Yes, it’s very likely that you get your new passport in less than 3 weeks but don’t take it for granted. For all we know, HMPO might have some additional questions for you, go on another strike and so on and so forth.
When planning, allow up to 10 weeks to get your documents. If your vacation is in six months or less, start preparing now!
According to our research, renewing an adult passport is often quicker than applying for a new one. Today, in most cases, you can expect to receive your renewed adult passport within approximately 12-13 days.
The answer to this one will also change depending on the circumstances. If you’re applying to get your first adult passport, you can expect to get it within 21 days. In case you need a new passport to replace the old one you lost, the processing time can be somewhat shorter: today, it typically takes 14 days.
Obtaining a travel document for a child in the UK usually takes a bit more time when compared to getting an adult passport. If it’s the child’s first travel ID, expect to wait at least 18 days. By contrast, a child passport renewal usually takes 15 days only.
In this case, the overall processing time can vary a lot depending on your location and the local processing times at the UK embassy or consulate where you apply. One thing can be said for sure: it will take longer than the usual procedure done solely by the passport office. On average, getting your new passport takes 35 days if it’s your first and 19 days if you’re renewing. Therefore, it’s advisable to start the process and send in your documents well in advance of your travel plans when applying from abroad.
The UK government offers a convenient service allowing you to get your passport online. Although the difference in processing duration will hardly be dramatic (the passport office doesn’t even specify it), applying online can expedite the process anyway.
Having applied for your new passport online, you will at least save the time you would have spent on a visit to a post office in person.
Expedited Service and How Long It Takes
For those who require a travel document as soon as possible, HMPO offers a faster option that allows you to get one within 1 week of submitting your application. Currently, it’s applicable to any passport renewal and first child passports.
Please note that the one-week option cannot be used to get a first adult passport. Also, you cannot apply online, only by using a paper application form (you can get it only in person from a post office).
Needless to say, this one-week service comes at an extra charge (be ready to pay almost twice the price). Still, it’s a convenient option if you have immediate travel plans or other urgent requirements.
Online Premium Passport Service and How Long It Takes
Currently, this is the fastest way to receive your passport.
To use this option, you’ll need to answer a series of questions (to make sure you can use it in the first place), book an appointment to get your passport, take a digital photo by yourself, submit your application online and pay the fee.
By the way, we can help you with that digital picture. With us, you’ll get a 100% compliant UK passport photo in a minute or two.
All in all, the earliest you’ll receive your passport is within 2 days from the date you applied (during the appointment you booked; the visit lasts about 30 minutes). Being a premium service designed for those with extreme urgency, this option also comes with a significant additional fee and costs even more than the one-week option.
Understanding the waiting times for different applications is essential to plan your holiday effectively. Whether you choose the standard processing time or opt for a quicker service, having a valid ID is an absolute must. So, don’t wait longer than necessary and don’t count on a certain date for your documents to arrive at your address! Simply apply today to ensure you have everything you need when you book any holiday plans.
For more information and instructions, check the official passport office website for the most accurate processing information. Also, make sure to share this post with people who may also need to find out how long it takes to get a passport in the UK. Enjoy your holiday!