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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Timetable for passport applications

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) recommends that you allow six weeks for a first adult passport. There's a range of options for other passport applications, depending on how soon you need to travel. The best advice is to apply early whenever you can.

Allow more time for first adult passports

If you're applying for your first adult passport, you'll need to allow more time than in the past. This is because in most cases you'll need to attend an interview. See ‘Passport interviews’ for more information.

IPS recommends you submit your application six weeks before you need to travel. Don't book any travel arrangements until you have received your new passport.

When to renew your passport

When renewing a passport, you don't have to wait until your passport runs out. You can apply at any time. IPS will add any time left on your old passport to your new passport in whole months - up to nine months. IPS can't carry over more than nine months from your old passport to your new one.

You can renew your passport whenever you wish, but you must pay the full fee. No refund can be given for any unexpired time left in your old passport.

Timetable for applying

These times don't apply to first adult passports. You should allow six weeks for first adult passport applications as you'll usually need to attend an interview.

By post - three weeks

IPS aims to return postal applications within three weeks of receiving them, provided you have filled in your form properly and sent the correct supporting documents.

If you don't do this, IPS may not be able to issue you a passport in the expected time. For this reason, IPS strongly advises you not to book any travel until you have your new passport.

Online applications - three weeks

The three-week guideline also applies to application forms submitted online.

IPS prints out your completed form and sends the paper copy to you to sign. As with postal applications, IPS does not officially receive the application until you have signed the paper form and sent it back with supporting documents.

Post Office Check & Send service - two weeks

The Post Office Check & Send service is available through certain Post Office branches. Your application should take two weeks from the time the branch or agent accepts the application, not including bank and public holidays.

This is not a guaranteed service and may take longer during busy times. IPS advises you not to book any travel until you have your new passport.

The service is explained in detail in ‘The Post Office Check & Send service’. 

Applying in person at a Regional Passport Office - urgent applications

Fast Track one-week and Premium one-day services are available at Regional Passport Offices. They are only available for certain types of application. You need to make an appointment to use these services through the Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000. The line is open between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am and 5.30 pm on weekends and public holidays.

During busy periods it may not be possible to get an appointment at short notice. You should allow at least two weeks for your appointment date.

Upgrading your application if your plans change suddenly

If your travel plans change after you have applied for a passport, you can request an upgrade to the Premium one-day service (renewals only). To request an upgrade, or for more details, including extra fees, you should phone the Passport Adviceline 0300 222 0000.

IPS will ask you for the barcode number of your application. If you have applied using the Check & Send service or in person at a Regional Passport Office, IPS will ask for the barcode number on the receipt you were given. Make sure you have the number ready to hand.

An upgrade may not always be possible during busy periods.

Delivery of your passport

Your new passport will be delivered by Secure Delivery. Secure Delivery couriers routinely deliver between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm Monday to Saturday. In most cases, the courier will take a photo of the property where the passport was delivered and record the address and delivery time and date.

In certain postcode areas you’ll need to sign for your passport. The delivery company will leave a calling card if you’re not home.

You can arrange to collect your passport from the courier between Monday and Friday. Or, you can request that your passport is redelivered at a certain time (Monday to Saturday). You’ll have to pay an additional mileage-based charge for this, so the cost will depend on where you live.

Through the courier, you can also arrange to collect your passport from a Regional Passport Office, during its opening hours, from Monday to Saturday.

Return of your supporting documents

Your supporting documents will be sent back to you separately by normal second-class post. However, these documents are valuable so IPS recommends that you pay an extra fee of £3.00 to have them returned by Secure Delivery.

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Additional links

Need passport advice?

For help, call the IPS Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.

The Adviceline is open:
- 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday
- 9.00 am to 5.30 pm weekends and public holidays

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