Everything you need to know about renewing your passport right now

As the world reopens for travel, it isn’t just vaccine passports you need to make sure you have.

The humble paper passport remains our key to visit other countries – regardless of whether they’re post-Brexit blue or not.

If you’re looking for anything other than a staycation, your passport will need to be valid for at least another six months, so give yours a check to guarantee your travel plans.

Those who do need to renew may face delays, as the Home Office experienced a backlog getting through an influx of applications after lockdown ended.

However, getting your form in sooner rather than later is the best way to ensure your holidays go ahead as planned.

Here’s everything you need to know about passport renewal in the UK right now.

Passport application waiting times

At present, the government website lists an estimated waiting time of six weeks for a passport renewal, or seven weeks for a new adult passport.

Children’s passport wait times sit at six weeks, both for renewals and first passports.

Crowdsourcing site passportwaitingtime.co.uk (which aggregates social media posts from the previous month) suggests a shorter time between applying for and receiving your passport. Their results show under 30 days’ wait for renewals.

Always leave plenty of time for your new ID to arrive, as delays can crop up.

Alternatively, one-week and online premium options are available. These cost more than the standard service, but can save you in a pinch, taking as little as two days to process.

How much does it cost to renew your passport in the UK?

A standard 34-page adult passport renewal costs £75.50 when applied for online, or £85 if you use a paper form (which also could take longer to come back).

50-page frequent traveller passports start at £85.50, while a child’s passport costs from £49. Those born on or before September 2 1929 can get theirs for free.

Fast-track options do cost more, too, depending on the service. For the one-week service, it’s £142 for an adult passport or £122 for a child’s.

The online premium application service – where applicants book an appointment and pick up the document then – starts from £177.

Passport application and photo guidelines

When you apply for or renew a passport, there are a few things you may need to provide:

  • A completed passport application
  • A birth or adoption certificate (if applying for a new passport)
  • Either of your parent’s birth certificates or passports (if applying for a new passport and born on or after 1983)
  • Your previous passport (if renewing)
  • A countersigned physical photograph or digital photo of yourself

There are also some stipulations for your passport photo. It must tick all the following boxes:

  • Clear, in focus, and in colour
  • Unaltered by computer software
  • At least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall
  • At least 50KB and no more than 10MB
  • Contain no other objects or people
  • Be taken against a plain light-coloured background
  • Be in clear contrast to the background

You mustn’t have ‘red eye’, must look at the camera without smiling, and not have anything covering your face or eyes (unless for religious reasons).

If you’re not particularly comfortable sending it off without a second pair of eyes, the Post Office has a Check and Send service that ensures the application goes through without errors.

To apply for a passport renewal or find out more about the process, visit the government’s website.

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