Passport travel chaos: How to beat passport queues as tourists face 10 week wait

Simon Calder discusses post-Brexit passport rules for travellers

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Due to a combination of factors, including Brexit and Covid, there’s currently a Home Office backlog of more than 700,000 passport applications. Britons eager to get away are currently facing a 10 week wait with some reporting further delays.

Britons can be fast tracked if they have special circumstances, such as a funeral to attend.

They can also cough up to pay for a fast track appointment but there currently aren’t many available.

Premium slots where Britons can get their passport on the same day or Fast Track to get it within seven days are often completely booked up.

However, data scientist Dr Michael Hodge is here to help Britons that need to get away on holiday.

The data scientist set up a bot after his mother faced issues with a passport application earlier this year.

The bot checks the Government website every 60 seconds and issues a Twitter alert when Premium and Fast Track slots are available.

Slots generally become available at a random time on Monday and Friday and unless Britons snap one up within a few minutes, they’ll end up out of luck.

Dr Hodge said he’d found that appointments in London are hardest to get while Glasgow and Belfast are more likely options.

He added that Premium slots are generally released around 8am whereas FastTrack are normally posted around 5pm.

Britons can follow the Twitter account @ukpassportcheck and sign up for notifications when it tweets.

Since Dr Hodge launched the account in May, it has already gained over 12,000 followers.

Slots can be taken within moments so it’s a good idea to have personal and payment details to hand.

Premium slots are only available to Britons who need to renew a passport that was issued after 2001.

It will cost tourists £177 but applicants will get their passport on the same day at the end of their half an hour slot.

Fast track appointments are also hard to get but will see a Briton’s new passport delivered to their home within seven days.

It costs £142 for an adult passport and £122 for a child and slots are generally released around 5pm.

If British tourists are still waiting on a passport application, they could try contacting the passport advice line to see if there’s anything that can be done.

Britons can also contact their MP as they may be able to escalate the issue if a passport is delayed longer than 10 weeks.

Tourists who are able to may have the best luck applying for a passport online as it’s usually a quicker service.

Britons should double check all their details are correct before submitting an online application.

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