Mother-of-two Jenny Craig said she applied for a passport renewal for her son Isaac 12 weeks ago. The family are due to travel to Italy in just under four weeks but fear the holiday may not go ahead
Nearly a million holidaymakers have been warned huge delays in passport processing could cost £1.1billion in canceled trips this summer.
That’s according to new research from the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), as the passport office continues to advise families to apply 10 weeks in advance.
But some people have told The Mirror they had to wait even longer than this target set by the Home Office.
Mother-of-two Jenny Craig said she applied for a passport renewal for her son Isaac 12 weeks ago.
The 43-year-old, who lives in London and works in communications, is due to travel to Italy in just under four weeks but fears the holiday may not go ahead.
If the family day out with her husband and two children doesn’t go ahead, she could lose nearly £1,000.
Alamy Stock Photo)
Jenny had to cancel her holiday in Morocco during the Easter holidays last month.
The family was able to get a voucher for the flights they couldn’t take and a refund from the hotel they were supposed to be staying at.
“We waited up to a week before canceling our trip to Marrakech…we knew that wasn’t going to happen,” Jenny said.
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“We are trying to go to Italy in May, in about four weeks. I’m pretty sure it won’t happen.
“If we don’t get confirmation by the end of next week that the passport has been processed, we assume it won’t happen with us.
“It’s gotten worse reaching someone. I calculated that I probably spent two days on hold.
“Every time I call, there’s an average wait of an hour and a half on hold. I don’t know how many calls I’ve made.”
Jenny isn’t the only one with long delays for a new passport.
Another traveler, who tweeted the official HM Passport Office Twitter account, said: “I’m trying to sort my son’s passport.
“It’s been 12 weeks! Tried to call but the lines are getting disconnected and are currently on hold for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
“Hopefully I can reach someone and not get separated after waiting so long!”
Another frustrated person said: “I applied to renew my passport eight weeks ago.
“After 31 calls today I was able to get through to the call center who told me to email the upgrade team and ask for Fast Track but it was a ‘lottery’ and ‘unlikely’.”
There have been warnings of a huge demand for passport applications following the relaxation of international travel rules in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
The rules are also more complicated because, since Brexit, Brits can no longer travel to the EU on a passport that is about to expire.
According to the rules of the Schengen area, your passport must be less than 10 years old on the date of entry and must be valid for at least three months after the date of intended departure.
The three-month rule does not apply to Ireland, but also to some non-EU countries – Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City.
The number of valid British passports has fallen by more than 2.5 million in the first two calendar years of the coronavirus crisis.
A total of 48.9 million passports were in circulation at the end of last year – 2.6 million fewer than at the end of 2019.
The figures were obtained by the PA news agency from the passport office through a freedom of information request.
“Data from the VisitBritain Covid-19 Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows that more than two in five plan to travel abroad in the next 12 months,” said the Center for Economics and Business Research.
“Assuming that passport holders have travel plans slightly more frequently than the general population and a quarter of them have booked, almost a million holidaymakers are at risk from the delays.”
Home Secretary Kevin Foster has previously said anyone traveling abroad this summer should submit passport applications as soon as possible.
He added the government is “confident” that it will not need to extend the 10-week target for processing requests.
The Passport Office estimates that 9.5 million British passport applications will be made this year and in March 2022 alone.
A Home Office spokesman said: “These are unconfirmed and nonsensical figures which are not based on reality and treating them as credible is completely ridiculous.
“For example, contrary to their false claims, over 90% of applications completed in January-March this year were processed within six weeks.
“The vast majority of passport applications are processed within the 10-week standard of service that we have implemented and clearly advertised since April 2021.
“Anyone who needs to renew their passport before summer is encouraged to do so now.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/mum-faces-losing-1000-due-26851028 Mum has to lose £1,000 due to passport delays - despite applying 12 weeks ago