Travel experts warn Brits to check their passports before strikes kick off

In a blow to holidaymakers looking to renew or order passports for summer there are likely to be huge delays in the process.

Brits have already been facing 10-week waits and changes to passport rules, and now the Passport Office has announced a five-week walkout in April.

The strikes are a “significant escalation” in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions claims the PCS union.

READ MORE: Brits facing summer travel chaos with 'delays to 1m passport applications' on horizon

Over 1,000 people will strike across all seven passport offices in England, Wales and Scotland from April 3 to May 5.

Meaning if you’re in need of new documents you may be out of luck or face serious delays.

Current advice from the Passport Office says to allow 10 weeks to get your passport in the post, but the strike could extend this even further.

Travel and luggage storage experts at Bounce have put together their top tips to help you save both time and potentially money too – check them out below.

Check that your passport is valid

Cody Candee, CEO, and Founder of Bounce commented: "It may sound obvious, but if you’re traveling abroad you must make sure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your trip.

"Not only should your passport be valid for your departure date, but many countries require your passport to be in date for at least 6 months after your arrival.

"This remains true, even if you’re visiting for a day."

Renew your passport early

Cody noted: "With the cost of fast-tracking a new passport significantly more expensive than standard applications, we recommend renewing your passport well in advance.

"If you have less than six months validity, we recommend applying for a new passport immediately.

"Not only are processing times currently around ten weeks, but as travel is back on the cards for many following the pandemic, the Home Office is predicting another massive year for renewals."

Check your blank pages

"If you run out of blank passport pages you will have to renew your passport sooner than your renewal date," Cody explained. "Some countries, such as Italy, require a fully blank visa page for valid entry, while others, such as South Africa require at least two.

"Be sure to check the requirements of your chosen destination before traveling so that you don’t get caught out."

Beware of copycat websites

The expert added: "There are a variety of websites that imitate official Government websites for passport applications.

"These websites attempt to charge users £20 – £100 on top of the official passport fee, by offering additional ‘validation’ services.

"When applying for a new passport, be cautious of these types of websites, and be sure only to use trusted sources.

"For example, the Post Office's Check & Send Service offers in-depth passport application guidance, from specially trained Postmasters."


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