Millions of UK citizens could have to wait up to four months for a new passport, due to coronavirus delays, according to warnings from the Passport Office.
Last month the Passport Office revealed that the coronavirus pandemic has caused passport applications to take much longer.
In addition to this delay for simple renewals, both the fast-track service and face-to-face interviews (which are needed for a first passport) have now been put on hold because of the pandemic.
The Passport Office is currently advising only those who will be travelling before September, or require a passport for compassionate reasons, to apply for one, in order to cut the waiting time down.
How long is the wait for a new or renewed passport?
According to Passport Waiting Time (a website which uses crowd-sourced data) the current waiting time is an average of 45 days for an adult’s first passport, while a child's first passport can take up to 33 days.
Meanwhile, passport renewals are taking slightly less time, but still upwards of three weeks, with an average of 28 days for a child's renewal and 23 days for an adult’s renewal. However, there have been some reports of the wait for a passport taking upwards of 100 days.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Transport clerk Matthew Hall explained that so far he has been waiting 142 days for his first adult passport which he applied for on 28 February, far ahead of his family holiday to Majorca in August.
Mr Hall said, "It’s beyond frustrating and they could at least keep people in the know. I'm set to lose over £3,000, and I’m a key worker who could seriously do with a holiday."
New post-Brexit rules
Further adding to delays is the influx of new passport applications which are expected to come through after the government’s post-Brexit information campaign, which was launched last week.
The campaign urges millions of UK residents whose passports are set to expire in the next year, to apply for a new one now, in order to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period.
The post Brexit rule regarding passports requires holidaymakers travelling to popular European countries, including Spain, Greece, France, Germany and Italy, to have a passport with at least six months of validity.
This new rule will come into force on 1 January 2021, and it is estimated that around five million people in the UK currently have passports which are valid for less than a year.