Passports have again made the headlines this month with members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union taking part in industrial action from 3 April to 5 May.
The PCS Union makes up around 1,300 of the 4,000-strong civil service workforce across the UK and has members in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, and Southport offices.
The planned industrial action is due to an ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions, that has not been resolved after 6 months of discussions.The Home Office has maintained its 10-week guideline for the application of a new passport or a renewal of an existing one, will stand, and that precautions are being taken to minimise disruption. It’s estimated that the Passport service revives approx. 250,000 applications per week.
However, travel expert Simon Calder thinks strikes may cause ‘significant disruption’. ‘This is aimed at making the issuing and renewing of passports much more difficult’ he told Good Morning Britain, in a recent interview.
The good news is that, according to an independent crowd-sourcing website that allows applicants to input their own wait times, passport applications are taking as little as 18 days to process at the moment. This is in contrast to the delays seen in 2022 when some people waited months for their passports to arrive, causing travel disruption to thousands.
Don’t panic, the rules around passport expiry are relatively simple:
If you’re planning travel to an EU country, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, or Switzerland you should follow the Schengen Area passport requirements:
Your passport must be:
Counties outside of the EU have differing rules, the best thing to do is visit gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to see what the entry requirements are for the country or counties you’re visiting.
There are two main ways to apply, via a paper form – which is a little more expensive, and online, which is usually faster. However, if you need a Passport urgently, the UK Government has a Premium or 1-Week Fast Track Service. Find out more at https://www.gov.uk/going-and-being-abroad/passports.
Something to consider is that your new passport will have a different passport number, so if you’ve booked your trip already, check with your provider to see if you can update your details before you travel.
Most travel insurance policies won’t cover you against delayed arrival of documents, so check your passport today!
Our medical travel insurance team are ready to provide you with assistance regarding your quote. If you would prefer to talk to an advisor to receive a quote or have a query please contact our UK based customer service team. Find out details on our contact us page.