Passport Office swamped with Summer applications

The UK’s Passport Office has urged travellers to lodge passport applications well in advance after being inundated with requests in the summer months

Her Majesty’s Passport Office is the sole issuing body for UK passports. It issues over five million each year but over 560,000 applications are expected in July 2013 alone, compared to 175,174 in December 2012.

Figures show that parents applying for passports for their children and young people aged 16-20 were the two groups most likely to submit a last-minute application.

The benefits of forward planning are not only to ease stress, but may reduce the financial strain. Many premium services for last-minute applications. Avoiding emergency counter services could save travellers up to £52.

The office has launched a new campaign with passport advice for holidaymakers. Chief Executive Paul Pugh said: “We are urging travellers not to forget the most important item on your travel checklist this year – your passport. The summer months see demand for passports increase up to threefold compared to the winter. Check it is valid in advance of your trip and don’t book that trip without first ensuring it is in date. We work hard to process more than 5.5 million applications each year, so help us to help you have a smooth trip this year.”

HM Passport Office advises customers to check their passports well ahead of their travel plans so that they can take advantage of easy-to-use postal route. Despite extra staff being employed by the service during summer months, there are limited numbers of appointments at passport offices for a fast-track service and customers cannot always rely on a last-minute call to the passport service to beat the rush.

The Passport Office predicts it will receive around 310,894 Post Office check-and-send applications, 103,446 Postal Direct applications, 78,478 electronic applications, 40,427 Premium (1 day) counter applications and 27,064 Fast Track Counter (1 week) applications during July alone.

The Office changed their name from the Identity and Passport Service to HM Passport Office in May this year. They said: “Our new name makes clear our role in issuing passports to citizens of the United Kingdom on behalf of the Crown and is more recognisable as the official government service to British citizens at home and abroad.”

Recently, they have also warned travellers against using fraudulent services charging premium rates for freely available official passport and visa information.

For official information about passport application and renewal, as well as travel advice, visit the Passport Office website.

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