The government is advising that UK passport applicants should leave at least 10 weeks to receive their passport, but is that reality? How long does it take to renew a passport in 2023 and what is the current wait time?
We decided to find out!
Why is There a 10 Week Wait for UK Passports?
Pre-pandemic, it was very common to get your new passport back in a 2-3 weeks but thanks to 2022’s backlog of post-Covid passports applications and the more recent passport office strike, things have slowed down a little of recent.
In fact, the public accounts committee (PAC) recently issued quite a damning report of the HM Passport Office, which, at its busiest, had over 360,000 people waiting for longer than 10 weeks to receive their new passport.
Although the delay has eased significantly, the government is still advising UK applicants to allow a cushion of 10 weeks for adult and child passports.
So, exactly when can you expect to receive your renewed passport and are people actually waiting over 10 weeks?
What Passports Are Included In The 10 Week Wait Advice?
The government advises you to allow 10 weeks for all the following UK passport applications:
- First adult passport
- Adult renewal passport
- First child passport
- Child renewal passport
So How Long Does it Actually Take Receive Your Passport in 2023?
The question we all want to know the answer to.
We chose to look at Adult renewal passports only, simply as there are so many options that it quickly becomes difficult to gleam any helpful findings!
Therefore, we heard from nearly 100 Cheap Holiday Expert followers who have applied for an Adult renewal passport since 6th May 2023, and here’s what they had to share.
91% received their passports within 3 weeks
The results showed that 91% of respondents received their passports within 3 weeks, with over half of them receiving their adult passport within just 2 weeks.
There is even a chance that your passport could arrive in as little as a week, with 18% of respondents reported receiving theirs within this timeframe.
Time it took respondents to receive their renewed adult passport
Over 4 Weeks
Over 10 Weeks
Over 4 weeks
Over 10 weeks
How Many People Waited Over 10 Weeks to Renew a Passport?
Given the advice, it surprised us to discover that 0 individuals had to wait over 10 weeks for their passports. Though, 2% of respondents did receive their passports after a wait of more than 4 weeks.
Based on our findings, when passports took longer than a month to arrive, it was typically due to factors that the applicants themselves could control, rather than being a delay on the part of the passport office.
What Factors May Contribute to an Adult Renewal Passport Delay?
To receive your passport as quickly as possible, you need to have everything ready. Initially, that means a photo, your application where you enter your details and sending off additional documents, such as your old passport. In addition, you may need someone to confirm your identity or be requested to attend an interview.
It’s these additional areas – the documents and possible confirmations – that really slowed some applications down.
We found that some applicants waited a few weeks to send off their old passports, which delayed their overall waiting time. For others, it took a few attempts for them to get their passport photo approved.
What Was The Wait Time After Sending Off an Old Passport?
Once the individuals we asked had sent off their old passport to the passport office, they waited for an average of 13 days to receive their new passport.
How Long Does it Take to Receive Old Passport Back?
As well as your new one, the passport office will send your old passport back to you – may need this if you have a Visa that’s still valid in it.
We found that it took around 20 days for people to receive their old passport back from. This was counted from the day they sent their passport off.
How Often Does The Passport Office Lose Passports in Delivery?
Whilst our sample group all received their passports within the advisory 10 weeks, it wasn’t without some drama!
It took 1 respondent over 8 weeks to receive their passport as the passport office lost their new one during delivery.
It’s a good reminder that whilst it’s very likely you’ll get your passport back much sooner, it doesn’t hurt to apply as soon as you can in case a mistake like this happens.
How to Limit Delay for Your New UK Passport
Whether you’re looking to renew an adult or child passport, or apply for your very first one, the key thing to do is to read all the instructions and apply correctly the first time.
The last thing you want to hear is that you need to send extra documents, that the photo you submitted hasn’t been accepted, or your old passport still hasn’t reached the Passport office.
Here’s how to ensure a smooth application process:
Who Did We Speak to For Our Study?
We received 96 valid responses from individuals applying for a UK Adult Passport Renewal between 6th May 2023 and 4th July 2023. We chose this one category (adult passport renewals) so that we could give specific details on expected wait times.