I’m in an odd position. My passport didn’t expire until April 2021 so my situation is not urgent. But we have family stuck abroad and if flying resumes in the autumn we won’t be able to travel to Vietnam (where one of our sons lives) after October because my passport won’t have sufficient validity. We’ve never met our grandson – has a heart condition and they are planning to come back permanently but will need our help to pack up to travel back here with two small children. Now, I could have left the renewal till the autumn but I figured that by then there’ll be a massive backlog. I called up the Passport Office twice. The first member of staff I spoke to told me not to send it in until the autumn and banged on about using the fast track service then. He seemed strangely keen to sell this service, even though it isn’t currently available. Then there was an article about ten days ago in The Independent that quoted a Home Office spokesperson who said standard passport renewals were being processed but that they were taking longer. I called up the Passport Office again and this time another member of staff confirmed exactly that; indeed, he added ‘the bottom line is that you can send it in, but it’ll take longer – though he couldn’t give any information about that. So, I decided to send it in anyway on the basis that I can afford to wait several months. All I know is that I made the application on 28 April and my old passport was received on 29 April. I’ll be interested to see how long it takes. If the lockdown begins to subside as of next week the pace of processing may start to accelerate.
It would also be interesting to hear from someone who has received their passport back in the last two weeks, and how long it took.