Passports: Government warning over passport renewal during coronavirus lockdown

A passport is a vital travel document that you need if you want to travel internationally. Of course, right now, the vast majority of Britons are unable to jet off anywhere. The UK government is advising against all but essential travel for an indefinite period of time.


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Travel may have ground to halt, but, frustratingly, there’s no stopping the advancement of the expiry date on your current passport.

If your passport expires during the coronavirus lockdown – will you be able to renew it? This is the latest travel advice.

The government is urging Britons to avoid applying for a new passport right now.

You are currently only allowed to request one if you need a passport urgently for compassionate reasons.

“It is taking longer than usual to process applications because of coronavirus,” explained the Home Office.

They continued: “Do not apply unless you need a passport urgently for compassionate reasons, for example, if a family member has died, or for government business.”

You can phone the Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000 if in doubt.

Britons should note that simply wanting to go on holiday does not count as a sufficient reason.

The UK Passport Office’s service standards have been suspended for now and they are unable to guarantee when a passport will be issued.

The UK Passport Office normally issues an average of half-a-million new and replacement passports each month.

This means hundreds of thousands of Britons will be left with out-of-date passports as the lockdown drags on.

Once the world returns to normal, there will inevitably be an avalanche of passport renewal applications.


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However, it is not known what the UK Passport Office’s plan for dealing with the deluge will be.

They warn you should not book travel if you do not have a valid passport.

“Doing so is at your own risk,” the government cautions.

If you have booked and you can’t get your passport renewed in time you won’t be able to postpone your trip.

This is because all travel operators state that it is the traveller’s responsibility to have the required documents.

You will also not be able to claim from travel insurance.

The standard policy wording is that insurers will reject “any claim arising from your failure to obtain the required passport or visa”.

The government points out that if your passport is burgundy or has ‘European Union’ on the cover, you can continue to use it until it expires.

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