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UK Passport Fees to Rise from February

The UK government has announced that passport application fees will rise for the first time in 5 years.

For help and expert advice on your immigration case, contact us on 0333 305 9375 or reach out to us online today.

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Increases for All Applicants

The increase in fees include applications for both adult and child passports.

The price of online applications for adults will rise from £75.50 to £82.50, while the price for children will rise from £49 to £53.50.

Meanwhile, postal applications for adults will increase from £85 to £93, while the price for children will rise from £58.50 to £64.

These changes are set to come into effect on 2 February 2023, and include those applying for new passports as well as renewing old ones.

UK Passport

Why Have Fees Risen?

On the official page announcing the changes, the Home Office gave a range of reasons justifying the increase in fees.

One of these is so that the Home Office can “move towards a system that meets its costs through those who use it, reducing reliance on funding from general taxation”.

Further reasons given include contributions to “the cost of processing passport applications, consular support overseas, including for lost or stolen passports, and the cost of processing British citizens at UK borders”.

The page also states that the government does not make a profit from the cost of passport applications.

Delays and Demands

The increase in fees follows  a period of “unprecedented demand” for passport applications in 2022.

Hundreds of thousands of people were left waiting months for passport applications to be processed, disrupting travel plans up and down the country.

The head of the National Audit Office, Gareth Davies, has stated that “HM Passport Office processed a record number of applications amid unprecedented demand. But limitations in its systems, coupled with difficulties in keeping up with a higher than average number of customers contributed to delays for hundreds of thousands of people, creating anxiety for those with travel plans and hampering people’s ability to prove their identity.

[HM Passport Office] must now learn the lessons from this year and prepare for similar levels of demand that are expected in 2023”.

How Will This Affect Waiting Times?

It remains to be seen how the increase in passport application fees will affect waiting times for applicants.

As the Home Office has stated that the increase in fees will partly fund essential passport and consular services, it may be the case that wait times may decrease as the year goes on. However, it will be impossible to predict either way until after applications start to be processed from February onwards.

The current estimated processing times for applications within the UK are about 10 weeks. According to Home Office statistics, over 95% of all applications between January and October 2022 were processed within this timeframe.

However, hundreds of thousands of people were left waiting even longer than 10 weeks to get their applications processed, which caused significant disruptions for some.

How Will Overseas Applications be Affected?

Overseas applications have also been affected by the changes in passport processing times. For example, one notable group are children who are British by descent who are born overseas and need to obtain a passport before they can travel to the UK.

The Home Office allows applicants to submit an application for a UK passport from abroad, as long as applicants have all of the relevant documents and information they need to hand.

However, it’s possible that processing times for applications made from overseas may be longer, with some current estimates on the Home Office website being 19 weeks or longer.

This time may be even longer if you’re asked to send more documents during the process, or if you’re required to attend an interview.

If you’re concerned about the process of applying for a British passport from overseas, especially if you need to obtain one urgently, don’t hesitate to reach out to an immigration lawyer for help. Contact a member of the IAS team on 0333 305 9375 or reach out to us online today.

How Can I Ensure My Passport Application is Processed Quickly?

There are a few things you can do to help minimise delays to your passport application.

Firstly, you should try and avoid submitting paper applications if possible, as these are generally processed slower than online applications.

It may also help if the photo you provide to the Home Office is a digital photo using a photo code from a shop or booth.

You should also ensure that your passport application is as complete and comprehensive as possible, and that you’ve given the Home Office every piece of information that they require to process your application without any issues. This may include specific details about your citizenship, your background and your personal life.

Finally, it’s important to remember that you should apply for a new passport as soon as you need one in order to prevent any inconveniences or delays later on. You should also avoid booking or confirming travel plans until you have a passport that you know will be valid for the entirety of your stay.

Applicants who need a passport urgently may also be able to take advantage of the government’s Online Premium or paper Fast Track services. Note that these services will incur an additional fee to use, however.

How Can I Track My Passport Application?

There are a couple of ways you can track your passport application after it’s been submitted.

Firstly, you will be able to use the government’s online tool to track your application if either:

  • You applied online with a digital photo and your application reference begins with ‘PEX’
  • You applied at the Post Office using the Digital Check and Send service

Meanwhile, if you applied on paper or used the Post Office Check and Send service, you will have to call the Passport Adviceline to track your application.

Details on how to do so can be found on the government’s page on passport application tracking.

How Can IAS Help?

The recent announcement regarding passport fees may spur many to submit applications before 2 February 2023 to take advantage of the cheaper prices.

If you’re planning to submit an application for a passport and need additional assistance, such as clarification on the process or eligibility for your own situation, IAS can help.

We are experienced, expert immigration lawyers who are on hand to address any questions or concerns about passport applications you might have.

If, for example, you’re an overseas national looking to apply on behalf of your British child, we can help you with the eligibility and application process to secure your child a passport.

We can help advise and guide you through every step of the way to ensure that your application gets approved first time, and with minimal delays.

We can also help you if you’re in the UK and need help on obtaining a passport as quickly as possible, or if you’re unsure about where to start when renewing an old passport or obtaining a new one.

For more information about the services we provide and how we can help you, reach out to a member of our team today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

Do you need help with an immigration issue? Our lawyers can assist you.

We can help you if you need help with your visa application or immigration case.

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