HM Passport Office are currently accepting passport applications by post and via the online service. Whilst they are operating with a reduced workforce, applications are being processed, albeit at a slower rate than the published standard service time of 3 to 6 weeks.
The online form has been amended with additional questions which are designed to discourage applicants from submitting non-urgent passport applications at the current time due to the delays resulting from COVID-19. The form requests applicants to specify the reason for wanting to submit the application, suggesting that applicants must have a need for urgent or compassionate travel in order to submit their applications at this time. In addition, the form requires applicants to waive the expectation that their application will be considered within the standard processing times. Should you have any queries relating to the online form, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The current online guidance from HM Passport Office states “Do not apply unless you need a passport urgently for compassionate reasons, for example if a family member has died, or for government business”. Therefore, whilst it is possible to proceed with an application at the current time, HM Passport Office advise that non-urgent applications should be submitted at a later date as applications submitted now are likely to experience delays. Applicants are unable to travel whilst an application is outstanding and as a result, the delay in processing may disrupt travel plans.
It is worth noting that it is cheaper to submit a passport application online. For example, a standard adult (16 and over) 34-page passport costs £75.50 if the application is submitted online. If submitted using the paper form (which can be obtained from the Post Office) the fee is £85. This difference in price is reflected in all application types and therefore all applications submitted online are £9.50 cheaper than if submitted by post. Fees are subject to change, and the current application fees can be found here.
There is no requirement to obtain a new passport if your passport is burgundy or has ‘European Union’ printed on the cover. Official guidance confirms these passports remain valid and can be used until they expire.
If you are looking to make a passport application at the current time and have concerns regarding the impact of COVID-19, please contact us to discuss your circumstances.
Please note that the information in this blog is current at the date and time of posting. The situation regarding policy and guidance based on the COVID-19 pandemic is subject to change at short notice. We shall be monitoring all aspects of UK immigration which may be impacted by the coronavirus closely, so please do keep updated with further blogs and articles which we will be posting on this site.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Trainee Solicitor in our corporate team