British nationals wanting to renew or obtain a British passport should avoid leaving their applications too late. You currently need to allow at least six weeks for a passport renewal and eight weeks for a first time application, according to Her Majesty’s Passport Office.
It’s also important to get your application right first time, to avoid the paperwork being returned and causing further delay.
The Passport Office took over the processing of all applications from British nationals across the globe in March. As part of the transition, the British Embassy in Madrid ceased to handle applications last year.
Overseas applications are now subject to further security checks, to align with the processes for domestic passport applications. These checks can take significantly longer than those made in the UK and a passport will not be issued until all checks have been satisfactorily completed.
Processing times have therefore increased for UK passport applications submitted from overseas. The Passport Office has acknowledged the frustration that customers may be experiencing and will continue to review its guidance on estimated processing times. It has recommended that customers do not book travel until they have received their passport.
UK passport applications must be made online and the webpage to start an overseas application can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/overseas-passports/y
The six week minimum for the issue of a new passport starts when the application is received by the Passport Office.
So if you need a new British passport soon, don’t leave it until the last minute. You can make your application up to nine months before the expiry of your current passport and the remaining validity time will be carried over to the new passport.