25 Apr

Holidaymakers urged to renew passports early

ABTA – The Travel Association is advising holidaymakers to check their passports now to ensure they have sufficient validity, ahead of the peak holiday season when up to 26 million UK holidaymakers are expected to head overseas. Many countries outside the EU require six months’ validity on passports from the date of the return to the UK, so it is vital to take this into account when checking passport expiry dates.

Up to one in ten passport holders needs to renew their passport each year, with the peak processing period for Her Majesty’s Passport Office being the run-up to the summer months. Members of the public do not have to wait for their passports to expire before renewing them, as up to nine months unused validity will be added onto their replacement passport.

Renewing early means that travellers can take advantage of the standard rate for passport renewal. The standard charge to renew an adult passport is £72.50, but this rises to £103 for the 1 week fast track service and £128 for the 1 Day Premium service.

Many countries outside the EU insist on visitors having six months’ validity on their passport from the date of their return to the UK. The relevant requirement can be checked on the Travel Advice section of the Foreign Office website (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice). However for travel within the EU, UK citizens’ passports only need to be valid up until their date of departure.

If a holidaymaker is unable to travel due to not having a valid passport, they will almost certainly be charged a cancellation fee which will not be covered by their travel insurance.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said: “Every year we see holidaymakers having to renew their passport in a rush, having realised just before they are due to travel that it is out of date or does not have enough validity for the country they are visiting.  HM Passport Office does an excellent job each year, efficiently issuing millions of passports to UK citizens, but we would strongly advise that holidaymakers check their passports now and renew them at the earliest opportunity, in order to guarantee the lowest, standard rate.”

Mark Thomson, Director General of Her Majesty’s Passport Office said: "HM Passport Office is focused on delivering high quality customer service by providing a safe, secure and efficient passport service.

“With summer approaching, it is important that travellers do not forget to check their passports are valid in advance of booking their holiday.”