Holidaymakers have been warned to allow 10 weeks for new passports if they are planning to travel abroad this summer.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Home Office has advised that the 10-week deadline introduced during the pandemic would remain in place due to an “elevated” and “volatile” demand for travel documents.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman reportedly told MPs: “We expect elevated demand for passports throughout the year – and demand can be volatile – so customers should continue to allow 10 weeks. I urge people to apply in good time and not at the last minute.”
It comes after figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats by submitting parliamentary questions which were shared with the Telegraph said the number of passports lost by the Home Office was at a five-year high.
The Lib Dem MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse, told the paper: “These are new heights of incompetence for the Home Office. British travellers who urgently need new passports are being left high and dry by these endless delays.
“With more and more passports going missing each year, it’s no wonder people are fed up with this endless travel chaos.
“The Home Office needs to step up and take decisive action before more people are let down and lose confidence in these services.”
The publication of these figures comes amid a hike in passport fees – which came into effect last Thursday.
From February 2, the cost of applying for a new British passport rose from £75.50 to £82.50 for adults, and £49 to £53.50 for children.
While postal applications for passports will increase from £85 to £93 for adults and £58.50 to £64 for children.
The Government’s web page said of the fee hike: “The new fees will help the Home Office move towards a system that meets its costs through those who use it, reducing reliance on funding from general taxation.
“The Government does not make any profit from the cost of passport applications.
“The fees will also contribute 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 increase will also help enable the Government to continue improving its services.”
It is the first time in five years that the cost of applying for a passport has increased, the Home Office said, adding that the proposals are subject to parliamentary scrutiny.