The UK’s current backlog in passport applications has surged since June and now stands at 508,000. This has caused a spike in the number of holidaymakers paying to fast-track their passport applications in time for their travels.
In an attempt to deal with the passport backlog, which The Daily Mail exposed earlier this year, Passport Office Chief Executive Paul Pugh has increased the number of examiners and call centre staff by 200 – that’s on top of the 1,000 extra staff members already redeployed. Passport offices are also working from 07:00 to midnight every day in an attempt to gain control of the backlog.
The Passport Office announced that applications can be fast-tracked for an extra £55.50 per application, while people who genuinely require their travel documents urgently can have their applications fast-tracked free of charge – though this only applies to applicants who have not received their passports after three weeks and are going abroad within seven days.
British families abroad can also receive an automatic 12-month extension, while their children will be given emergency travel documents. This helps somewhat, but unfortunately many countries – including Australia, USA, India and Turkey – are not accepting the 12-month emergency passports.