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4 things you need to know about your passport

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4 things you need to know about your passport

Digging out the passport used to be a last minute job for many would-be holidaymakers. Simply having one that was up to date while you were away was good enough for travel within the EU. But all that changed after Brexit — now your passport must be valid for three months after the date you leave the country you are planning to visit.

If you didn’t know that, you are not alone. Many traveling abroad for the first time since the pandemic are being caught out. With strikes at the Passport Office and warnings of ten-week delays for renewals, it’s an anxious time for anyone needing a speedy renewal.

Here’s what you need to check and a simple guide on fast tracking your passport renewal.

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What are the rules for where I’m going?

For most countries, your passport must be valid for a set period of time in addition to your travel, according to government guidance, While most countries such as Australia, Canada and the USA just need your passport to be valid for the length of your stay, other countries such as Greece, China, Thailand, Egypt, and Turkey need it at least six months from the date you arrive.

As well as this, some countries require you to have 1-2 blank pages in your passport when you arrive. If you run out you will have to renew it soon.

Always check the specific required entries for the country you are visiting and find out whether your passport will be valid for your trip on gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice , You’ll need to search for the country you’re going to and click on ‘entry requirements’. If you are worried about whether your passport meets the requirements, contact the embassy of the country you are visiting – find yours at foreign embassies in the UK,

For most European countriesyour passport must be valid for three months after you leave that country. Anything less and you may be refused entry. according to the European Union’s Your Europe site: “If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport:

  • valid for at least three months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting
  • which was issued within the last 10 years.
check your passport's expiry date well in advance of travel

audy_indy,Getty Images

How long will it take to renew my passport?

Officially, the Home Office is saying expect a ten week wait – thanks to a combination of the strike and the start of the holiday season. But Passport Waiting Times – which tracks self-made reports of applications online – says most people are waiting 17 days for their travel documents to arrive. You can follow the service on Twitter @passportwaiting,

Scam alert! Travel expert Simon Calder says beware of people contacting you over social media claiming to offer a service to get you a fast-tracked passport. Only ever deal with HM Passport Office. There are no private companies that can get you a passport quicker.

You can track the process of your passport application:
,If you applied online and your application reference begins with PEX or POD, you can track your application here,

,If you applied at the Post Office using the Digital Check and Send service, you can track your application using the link and reference on your Digital Check & Send receipt.

, If you filled in a paper formcall the Passport Adviceline To track your application.

How can I fast-track my passport application?

If you haven’t yet applied and think the standard service will take too long, you can book a passport office appointment, up to three weeks in advance, and pay online.

There are two ways to apply for an urgent passport:

One week fast track

you can use 1 week fast track service to renew an adult or child passport. Get a paper application form from a Post Office, fill it in and gather your documents. Only once you have an application form, you can book an appointment online. It costs £155 for an adult passport and £126 for a child’s – roughly double the usual cost of a standard passport application,

There are a limited number of appointments available each day. Your new passport will be delivered to your home within one week of your appointment. Someone may need to be in to sign for it. follow @ukpassportcheck on Twitter to be alerted when these appointments are released.

Online Premium

you can use the Online Premium service to renew an adult passport only and will get your new passport at the appointment. You apply, pay and book an appointment online. The earliest you can get an appointment is two days from when you apply. New appointments are added each day but there is very high demand and you need to be quick to catch one. The cost is £193.50. follow @ukpassportcheck on Twitter to be alerted when these appointments are released.

If you need a passport to travel urgently for medical treatment or because a friend or family member is seriously ill or has died, call the Passport Advice line instead on 0300 222 0000.

What to do if your passport won’t arrive in time?

If you’ve already applied for a passport using the standard service, you might be able to upgrade your application and get your passport faster. You’ll need to provide evidence that you need the upgrade, such as proof of your travel plans (like booking confirmations) or your need for ID (such as a letter inviting you to a job interview). The upgrade can cost between £72.50 and £111, depending on your circumstances. Find out more here,

If your passport is lost, stolen or damaged while you are on a trip overseas, you will need to apply for an emergency travel document so you can get back home

Need more info?

Passport Adviceline
Telephone: 0300 222 0000
From outside the UK: +44 (0)300 222 0000
Textphone: 18001 0300 222 0222
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, Sunday and UK bank holidays, 9am to 5:30pm

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