Applications whilst locked down

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    Andy Anderson

    Due to the current situation the passport office has stated they are working with a skeleton staff. Therefore processing times are taking longer than normal. The date shown on our site is an average of the last 30 days so may include data from applications sent before lock down.

    Post your experiences here for applications made since lock down to give others an idea of current situation.

    Stay safe everyone.


    Two applications submitted on 18th of March (Peterborough and Newport). Both are still being processed.

    Documents are scanned and uploaded on the system (we know this because agents at the call centre can also see them). So that’s not a problem for applications to be approved remotely. Probably tbe problem is the enquiries that must be made. Passport Office must adapt itself to the new situation that can be with us for a year or two. It shouldn’t be that hard in the third decade of 21st century.

    One might wonder why I need passport during lockdown, I need the passport to prove identity and extend my licence to practice with a governing body but there are lots of other reasons a passport might be needed. For example, a spouse applying for a UK visa to join or remain with the British citizen, as in the application form, passport number of the sponsor is required and you cannot skip that question in the online form.


    Renewing a UK passport, I am an UK expat living in Hong Kong. My application was submitted online on 10th March and hardcopy originals documents acknowledged by Liverpool passport officeon 18th March, since then the application has been being processed.

    I travel frequently from HK to China and the border is likely to be reopened shortly (within a month) hence the passport will be required sooner rather than later. Obviously if the UK had continued to issue passports from other locations outside the UK then maybe they could adopt different contingency procedures!!


    I am in similar situation, applied for 2 passport renewals (my daughter and I) on 20th March. However it says still being processed. I wish they were more clear about waiting times.

    I need my passport for ID purpose with the bank (due to current financial situation) and soon for my visa renewal as I am living in Dubai. I am however unable to this.


    My application is also showing “processing”. It was received by them on 2nd April. Desperately need mine for my GTCS registration for work. I receive an email stating I was not to contact them asking!!!!


    I applied for a passport renewal on the 12th April from Australia. I am travelling with my wife to NZ back to her home country as a result of COVID as we are unable to remain in AU. My application hasnt processed beyond “Identity Details Recieved”. Have called to follow up on the process and all that was done was “an email sent to Liverpool”. Have been advised we will need to get emergency travel documentation from the embassy as we travel in June. Ridiculous that citizens stuck overseas cannot get any information. We need to travel for our personal welfare as we have lost work and homes in this country. I felt allowing 2 months for a passport renewal was more than conservative. My wife also had to renew her NZ passport (NZ is in level 4 complete lockdown) and hers was processed and recieved within 5 days of application under normal processing times. Shameful from the UK.


    jtphelella, surely by June you may receive the passport before you travel. 2 months may still be enough as it has not been even a month for you.


    I submitted my daughters renewal 21/03/2020 and it’s been stuck at application being processed since 30/03/2020. Makes me feel at ease seeing others have been waiting since me however these were done prior to lockdown so surely should be well underway and near the top of the pile? Would be nice for them to put an update in their website saying a current wait time is x time. Crazy with the technology we have today and it’s so backwards!


    Offshore Application we currently live in Australia although we are moving to NZ next month. My wife has a job offer and accepted it as a nurse and we have been granted an exemption to fly by Immigration New Zealand.
    My timeline is:- applied for sons renewal 16th March; old passport sent the same day arrived at the passport office on 26th Match (signed for);8th April acknowledge and on the system by passport office. Still waiting saying processing ! Have rang a few times to state we need it to travel urgently, same answer can’t give an eta blah blah blah sooo frustrating. Advised that if we don’t receive it we will need to apply to the embassy for an emergency travel document. Just an eta would be nice.

    Grantham Traveller

    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.


    We live overseas in Oman, submitted online 2 kids passports for renewal on 9 March. They were received at passport office on 19 March and processed on 20th according to online tracking.

    We have 2 issues, we are due to be relocating to Malaysia in August and passports required urgently to process immigration and visas paperwork – also the FCO is not processing papers so another delay.
    Also, it’s likely we will have to be repatriated out of Oman in next few weeks. My husband is a teacher and online teaching has been cancelled here so current employer trying to assist with moving us on.
    So obviously we can’t fly anywhere with no kids passports.
    Annoyingly, husband sent his passport for renewal about 2 weeks before kids and got his within a week!
    I don’t want to use emergency passport and find kids passports being sent to Oman when we have left!

    Grantham Traveller

    So far, the majority of posts on this page are about people applying for UK passports from abroad which makes it look as if that’s the most serious problem area though there aren’t enough posts yet to get a clear picture. The delays are presumably due in large part to the closure of places like Visa Application Centres abroad. My grandson’s passport application was made in January in Vietnam. My son was about to attend the standard interview at Hanoi’s VAC in early April but of course that was cancelled. The VAC is still closed even though Vietnam is moving away from lockdown. Result, my grandson still has no passport and this crucially prevented the family from being able to rush for a repatriation flight. An ETD could have been obtained but the whole frantic nightmare put them off and they decided to stay on. This is why I need mine renewed so we can get out to help them come home late in the year.

    It’s interesting that we’ve heard nothing from UK applicants and renewal applicants on this site who have actually received their passports back during this period. I called up the Passport helpline on Thursday 7 May for an update on the general situation. I was told that standard renewals are being processed very slowly by a ‘skeleton staff’, though that emergency ones can be done in a couple of days. The call-centre person, who was clearly working from home, said she was sure I’d get mine ‘by August’ and assured me mine would be in a queue, not siting in a box somewhere. Since I’m not in a hurry that doesn’t matter. However, I note that although mine was received at Peterborough on 29 April it has not been checked or processed in any way. She told me she wouldn’t expect any progress for 2-3 weeks.

    What I’d also like to know is if, say by September the passport still hasn’t come whether I can at that time ring up and book a fast track appointment (assuming that service has been restored by then) by converting the application to that. I intend to find this out next week.


    Can someone provide me with a number to call from OVERSEAS please?

    Grantham Traveller

    Passport Adviceline
    Telephone: 0300 222 0000
    From outside the UK: +44 (0)300 222 0000
    Textphone: 18001 0300 222 0222
    Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5:30pm


    Seeing that people have mentioned that the problems are mainly for those abroad I’d like to share my story. I’m applying for a first adult passport. My application was submitted on the 14th of March, documents received on the 18th of March, and the application began being processed on the 20th of March. Please note all these dates are pre lockdown.
    Its coming up to two months now and I am getting concerned. They have my other passport and I have a trip booked for the 25th of June which if the situation permits I intend to go on.
    They tell us not to contact but I am getting worried now.

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