You’re booking a holiday and remember to check your passport’s still in date, only to realise it needs renewing before you jet off. You’ve still got a few months though, so it’s fine, right? Most people, you’d expect, would send off an application for a passport renewal quickly after realising. You don’t want to risk missing your holiday after all.
But what about if you’re a serial procrastinator, ridiculously avoidant or you just don’t have the money right there and then to pay for a renewal on top of a holiday? If that’s you, you’re probably feeling pretty stressed about right now, understandably.
So, here’s some advice on getting your passport renewal sped up before a holiday if you’re running out of time.
Passport Renewal – book an in-person appointment
First of all, it’s worth noting these are only suggestions and are by no means foolproof. The ideal is always going to be applying for your passport as much time in advance as possible. Particularly since the pandemic started, the re-opening of borders has seriously delayed the Passport office. It can take as long as 10 weeks to process applications and renewals.
And always remember, in many travel destinations you need to have 3-6 months left before your expiry date to travel. So if you checked your passport and thought “Oh, I’m fine”, it might be worth checking again.
The obvious solution is to pay the extra for the fast-track process. But with heavy demand right now, even the fast-track isn’t proving too speedy. It’s for this reason that the most successful way to speed it along is to attend an appointment with the passport office in person.
You’ll have to call up and arrange it, and probably explain your situation. If they agree, hopefully you should be able to get it sorted fairly quickly. But as ever, it’s very much dependent on a number of factors. Such as staff available and whether there are other people with greater priority (e.g. those needing to travel for sick family members or a funeral).
If you want to chance regular applications
If you’re planning on still applying via the usual route, the best thing you can do is send it digitally and check the application thoroughly. So, make sure your photo aligns with passport regulation (otherwise the application could be returned) and proofread your details. And even better, get other people to proofread your details.
Digital applications are reportedly quicker than via mail. But if you have to mail it, then send it with next day delivery (everyday counts, right?). It’s probably also worth calling up to see if fast-track applications are efficient at that moment in time.
Ultimately, finding yourself in such a situation is immensely stressful so all you can do is try your best. If things are looking bleak and postponing your holiday is an option, at a certain point that may be a better choice than losing out on any deposits and flight costs. But to anyone in this position right now, good luck and fingers crossed you get your passport renewal back in time!