Martin Lewis reveals new passport advice as backlog reaches over 400,000 amid Covid delays

Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com has revealed more travel advice for Britons keen to jet off abroad. In MoneySavingExpert.com’s weekly email, the finance expert explained that there is now a fast-track option for Britons who have had their passport applications delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Passports are essential if you’re looking to go on holiday abroad.

But some Britons have been waiting weeks for their passport applications to be processed, leading to some having to cancel their holidays.

The Government revealed this week that there is a backlog of over 400,000 passport applications in the UK.

The delays were caused by the coronavirus pandemic which meant the passport office had to reduce its staffing due to social distancing.

Baroness Williams said the Passport Office “continues to operate at reduced staffing levels so its people can continue to socially distance”.

She added: “It is therefore taking longer than usual to process passport applications.”

She added: “As part of its contingency arrangements, HM Passport Office is rapidly increasing its capacity for processing passport applications, in line with public health guidance, which will help to ensure it continues to meet the travel needs of its customers.”

Passports are supposed to take three weeks to process.

However, some people found they were waiting as long as two months for their passport to be processed.

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But now, MoneySavingExpert.com has revealed that if Britons can prove they have to travel within the next fortnight, and if the Passport Office has had their renewal application for longer than four weeks, they will fast-track the application and make sure it is delivered within five days.

For anyone looking to travel within the next fortnight waiting for their passport, MoneySavingExpert.com’s you are eligible for fast-track.

However, those looking to apply for a passport for the first time will have to wait a bit longer.

The Passport Office has said that the security checks will take longer.

They said they are looking to make sure that anyone with plans to travel will not have to cancel their holidays if their application has been submitted in “good time”.

MoneySavingExpert.com also says anyone in the UK due to travel in the next fortnight who has been waiting for their passport renewal for over four weeks should ring this number: “0300 222 0000”.

The number allows holidaymakers “to discuss your situation and request your application is fast-tracked.”

The site is also suggesting that travellers should have their fight and hotel information at hand in case they need to provide evidence that they will be travelling in the next few weeks.

They also said that anyone outside of the UK needs to contract the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Those travellers will have to get an Emergency Travel Document and won’t be able to use the “normal passport service”.

The Passport Office is also offering other useful advice to keen travellers.

Most importantly, don’t book any travel until you have received your new or renewed passport.

They are also advising people to not apply for a renewal if it is not urgent and to wait until after the summer.

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