West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has raised concerns over delays at the British Passport Office, as travellers face waiting times of up to 10 weeks for passport applications.
The UK government has been slammed for failing to get a grip of backlogs at HM Passport Office, with warnings that individuals and families face missing holidays due to lengthy waiting times for passports.
The UK saw a significant drop in the number of people applying for passports during the Covid-19 pandemic, with over 5 million people delaying their applications throughout 2020 and 2021.
But with restrictions on international travel easing, the Passport Office is experiencing high demand as more and more people submit applications for renewed and first-time passports.
Travellers are being told to allow 10 weeks for renewing or changing their passports – a wait time that has doubled since the start of April when application times were up to 5 weeks.
Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes – who has been supporting constituents hit by the delays – is urging residents to get their applications in to the Passport Office well in advance of any planned travel.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“The UK government needs to get a grip on its backlogs in processing British passport applications. I’ve been inundated with complaints from constituents about worsening delays and engaged helplines at the passport office.
“Waiting times have now doubled to 10 weeks, which is causing stress and anxiety for families who face missing holidays and losing money if their passports don’t arrive in time.
“Whilst I appreciate the passport office is facing high demand, UK Ministers should have been prepared for this by ensuring sufficient staff and resources are in place to deal with the backlog.
“I’ve assisted a number of constituents in recent weeks to get their passports in time for travel. I’ll always do my best to help as your local MP, but the current backlog means it’s difficult even for MPs raising enquiries with the passport office on behalf of constituents.
“With summer holidays fast approaching, I’d urge residents to check their passports and get their applications in well in advance of any planned travel.”
The advice issued by HM Passport Office to allow up to 10 weeks for passport applications is available here.