Martin Lewis’ Money Saving expert team has issued a warning to holidaymakers travelling abroad ahead of the passport strikes. More than one thousand Passport Office workers are due to walk out between 3 April and 5 as part of strike action over pay, pensions, redundancy terms and job security.
But the Money Saving Expert team has issued advice to British tourists who might be impacted if they are waiting for a new passport to arrive ahead of a holiday. The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents government and civil service workers, has warned there could be a ‘significant impact’ on the delivery of passports throughout strike action.
Currently, guidance from the Home Office - the government department that oversees passport applications - states you should "allow up to 10 weeks from when we receive your old passport, any supporting documents, or confirmation of your identity details if needed."
However, the Home Office would not confirm whether it expected delays to passport services. It told the Money Saving Experts that it is currently implementing ‘contingency plans’ to ensure passport applications are processed throughout the strike and that its guidance of a 10-week processing period remains in place.
But, if you are unable to make your holiday, due to not having your passport arrive in time you could be entitled to compensation. Guidance on the Government website states that if your passport is delayed due to an error by the Office, and results in you missing your trip, you may be due compensation.
The Passport Office wouldn’t confirm whether delays due to striking passport office workers would mean travellers would be due compensation, but its official guidance states:
"A straightforward and non-questionable compensation claim is one where it is clear we:
- made an error which has caused the customer extra expense.
- have damaged or lost a customer’s document and we must replace it.
"A straight forward non-questionable guaranteed service level fail is one where we:
- clearly failed the service level due to an error, omission or unnecessary delay."
But when MSE asked the Passport Office if this would include strike action, it wouldn’t comment further. However, although the usual travel advice is to have at least six months on your passport before travelling for it to be valid, some locations might let you get away with less.
So if you’re travelling to countries including Gibraltar and the USA it might be worth waiting to renew your passport until after your trip as your passport only needs to be valid for the duration of your stay.
For most European countries, it’ll need to be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
To renew it online you need a digital photo, a credit or debit card and your old passport.
To renew it using a paper form, you need to go to a Post Office that has a ‘Check and Send’ service or call the Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.
You will also need two good-quality printed photos of yourself.
Passport prices for adults and children
The government increased the price of passports in February.
Adult passport application prices
Standard online applications made from within the UK have risen from £75.50 to £82.50. Postal applications have increased from £85 to £93.
Child passport application prices
Online applications for children have risen from £49 to £53.50 for children. Postal applications have increased from £58.50 to £64.
Fast-track passport fees
Priority service fees are being aligned so all customers pay the same.
Overseas application prices
The fee for a standard online application when applying from overseas for a UK passport has risen from £86.00 to £94.00 for adults and £56 to £61.00 for children