Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has urged anyone requiring a new passport or passport renewal to apply early to avoid disappointment. The DUP representative has been inundated with constituents requests for help in securing passports ahead of travel, with delays in processing continuing to cause problems.
Carla Lockhart said:
“For several months now the processing time for new passports and passport renewals has been beyond acceptable in terms of timescale.
I have been in daily contact with the Passport Office to try to resolve outstanding applications for constituents. Many have been resolved in time for travel plans to proceed, but in some cases the timetable has just been too tight and people have missed out on much anticipated holidays due to the delays in processing.
It is absolutely vital that people apply in plenty of time for new passports or for renewals. It is also strongly advised that no travel is booked prior to successfully completing the passport application process. It is simply too unpredictable to book travel in expectation of securing a passport so to avoid losing money, my strong advice is to get your passport sorted before booking.
Currently you are looking at 10 weeks for processing, and unless it is in the system for six weeks it cannot be upgraded unless exceptional circumstances exist. It is best to apply online, and the Post Office Digital Service is a very helpful service for shorter turn around.
If anyone requires support in contacting the Passport Office, I would encourage them to get in touch and I will do all that I can to help. No one wants to miss out on a much needed holiday, so it is vital that time is given to secure that all important passport.”
Minister Kevin Foster and Carla Lockhart MP discussing passport issues in Westminster.