Travellers might want to consider an early passport renewal to avoid paying higher charges that are due to come into force from 27 March.
The Home Office has announced its intention to change the cost of some of its passport applications to favour online applications, which will become cheaper than postal applications.
Here’s what’s changing:
- Adult online applications will rise from £72.50 to £75.50 (a 4% increase).
- Adult postal applications will rise from £72.50 to £85 (a 17% increase).
- Adult fast track applications, which take a week to process, will rise from £103 to £142 (a 38% increase).
- Adult premium service applications, which take one day to process, will rise from £128 to £177 (a 38% increase).
- Children’s online applications will rise from £46 to £49 (a 7% increase).
- Children’s postal applications will rise from £46 to £58.50 (a 27% increase).
According to the government’s website, renewals that are not fast track or premium take three weeks to process, and completely new passports can take up to six weeks.
The changes are, however, still subject to Parliamentary approval. The Home Office says money raised from the price rises will go towards modernising border processes and security, and the costs of issuing UK passports and consular support.
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes comments: “The passport is an invaluable document that allows millions of British people to travel around the world for business and pleasure.
“Our priority is to ensure that UK travellers have a secure, effective, and efficient service from the point of application to the time they pass through the UK border and it is only right that we should look at this whole process when setting our fees.
“These proposals will ensure that those people who don’t travel abroad are not footing the bill for those who do.”
Renew early to avoid the fees
If your passport expires before 26 December 2018, you can apply for a new one before 27 March with the remaining time on your passport added to the new passport.
This is because when renewing a passport, any time left before its expiration is added on to the new passport, up to a maximum of nine months.
However, if your current passport expires after 26 December 2018, you will lose validity time on your new passport.
A Home Office spokesperson says: “Unless your passport is expiring within the next nine months it will cost you more in the long term to renew ahead of the price change as you will lose the validity of your existing passport.”