“Appointments are like hens teeth” – Star readers share their passport renewal woes, as well as their positive experiences

Through the pandemic many let their passports expire, due to not knowing when they could travel again. Now a passport backlog and Brexit rule changes are causing chaos.

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 3:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2022, 3:44 pm

Before the pandemic began, renewal times for passports were, as a rule, approximately three weeks. Now due to various reasons, HM Passports are now advising of a wait up to 10-weeks.

That is not all though, new Brexit rules are also having an impact. If you were to renew early those extra months given on your passport are no longer valid.

We asked our readers to share their recent experiences when it came to renewing or obtaining a passport. Here are a selection of their comments:

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 12: A man waits outside the passport office collections office on June 12, 2014 in London, England. Home Secretary Theresa May has announced extra measures to clear a backlog of passport applications. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Sue Atkin says that she had, “Renewed a child passport online 3 weeks ago and it was processed and returned within 2 weeks. Excellent service.”

Sarah Ogden added that she had, “Applied at the end of March for the first passport for our son & to renew my partners. Partners came back in 3 weeks & just received my little boy's yesterday”

Steve Batty was happy with the service he received, “I recently did my daughters online, from processing the application online and sending her documents off it’s took just under 4 weeks. Her new passport came at the weekend.”

Another happy customer was Wendy Vickers, who replied that she “Did mine on line 14/4/22 arrive today 27/4/22 fantastic service I really can’t fault it.”

And Shirley Atkins Horsfield says that the whole process took, “Exactly 3 weeks and they updated me every week to say what was happening with it. Great service.”

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“Renewed online and arrived last week. Took around 2 weeks in total”

Pamela Diana Draycott said that, “Ours needed renewing in July 2020 - my husband's was back in 3 weeks and mine in 4. We were fortunate.”

Jodie Burnham says that, “It’s taken them two weeks to acknowledge receipt of my partners old passport when it was sent ‘signed for’ and did arrive the day after! dread to think how much longer he will have to wait!”

To which Tracy Littlewood replied to Jodie saying, “it took mine 6 weeks to come back n that was in January. I know thousands are applying for them, but I don’t get why it takes so long. Get more staff if need be”

Sarah Eaton was not happy calling the situation, “Absolutely disgusting, my son gone to Liverpool on train from Sheffield,security wouldn’t help at all he asked for manager or senior person and was told by no one available, the phone lines constantly busy and cutting you off. Can’t get an appointment, holiday booked for next wk.”

Meanwhile, Terri Jane Duckworth says that it’s been “Nearly 14 weeks we've been waiting, it a joke. January it was sent off they're about as helpful as a chocolate fire guard.”

And, Jessikah Powell says that it “Took 10 weeks was told could upgrade sons passport they didn’t even get back in contact with us till today. But luckily I don’t give up without a fight and I turned up at the office and got it that day.”

Emma McDonald replied to Jessikah asking, “what happened when you turned up I'm wanting to do that but it's a 4 hour drive.” To which Jessikah responded that “they saw me and dealt with it and I waited for his passport got it same day.” From the Peterborough Passport office.

Some people were in luck though, Rachel Davison added that she had, “Applied on 01/04 and received passport 10 days later. A standard renewal application from child to adult. No problems altho not yet received old passport back…It was processed at Peterborough.”

Cat Duffin added that, “Mine was processed, printed and back within a week from Belfast. My kids first passports took about 3 weeks from Bootle and my husbands renewal took 4 weeks from Peterborough. This was at the end of Jan.”

Josh Brown commented that he had, “Just received my sons first child passport…took 11 weeks to arrive even though when we completed online and sent the documents off it was showing 4 weeks processing time!”

“Exactly 3 weeks and they updated me every week to say what was happening with it. Great service.”

And some people are waiting in hope for their passport(s) to arrive.

Joanne Casewell responded saying, “We had ours renewed at post office 2 week ago,hope it doesn't take as long as some do,I need a holiday to recharge my batteries.”

Victoria Madden added that she had, “Sent my hubby and sons off in Feb. Received 20/2/22 by passport office. Hubby had his back 5 weeks. Still awaiting my sons.”

Others weren’t sure of the best way to get their passport quicker, Brendan Warburton MBE asked, “Can you still get an appointment to travel to Liverpool to get it done on the day?” He received a reply from Rachel Anne Hall, who said, “no - the online premium service isn’t available and very scarce on appointments for the fast track one week service - appointments are like hens teeth.”

There were a number of people who have had to wait a while, such as Craig Latham.

Craig said that he had been waiting for “Nearly 14 weeks. Applied in January for my sons passport. After ringing up everyday and hearing different stories with everyone you speak with finally after traveling down to Newport (where the passport is been processed) did we manage to actually speak with someone who was willing to help and the passport has now been processed, just waiting for it to be printed and posted.”

Gem De-ville says that, “Me and my daughter both renewed our passports in january. Had my new 1 and both our old ones back for 5 weeks, however her new one has been lost somehow! TNT are useless as are the passport office!!! 9hrs on the phone since last thursday and still no one has any idea where it is or when its coming! We travel on the 16th of May and am now doubting it will come.... its an absolute JOKE. This government is a farce! So angry.”

Many readers seemed quite frustrated at the state of affairs.

Ayeisha Rebekah commented that, “I've been waiting since 27th Feb for my son's first passport. Bit gutted as I'm due to go on my honeymoon with my boys in 10 days. Keep calling no answer! Requested so many call backs!”

And Gemma Anne is understandably furious at her wait, “Oh my word! Don’t even get me started. Applied for all 4 of ours on 30th January. 3 were very quick and turned around in 3 weeks however I am still waiting for the 4th!

I am also still awaiting a call back from 9th and 21st April with multiple calls from me to them in between. I am worried that it won’t arrive for our upcoming holiday.

The telephone service is appalling. When you can get through the staff tell you different things. Getting through is a nightmare. You waiting in a queue because they ask you if you are happy to wait x minutes then they cut you off randomly saying the service is too busy.”

"Appointments are like hens teeth.”

Some people are worried about how the delay could affect their holiday.

Sarah Eaton has “Been waiting nearly 8 wks, got holiday booked for 8th may, phone line let’s you believe your winning then cuts you off, son going to Liverpool on train only option he has.tried fast track and it says busy.”

From the readers responses it seems that although HM Passport is advising of a 10-week delay, in some cases people are managing to get their passports fairly swiftly with a turn around within weeks. But that is not the case for all with a number of people expressing frustation either at the level of service, poor communication or an extended delay that surpasses that of the guidance.

What is clear is that in the coming weeks as more people try to get a passport and book their holiday overseas there will be more hurdles to overcome and further delays as demand ramps up even more.