The average time to renew your passport is three weeks (Image: Getty)

Since the lockdown ended and countries started opening back up for tourism, passport renewals have been in high demand.

Checking your passport’s expiry date is an important part of preparing for your holiday, as there’s nothing worse than turning up to the airport to be told your passport has expired or there’s not enough time left on it.

If you’re itching to get away but are unsure whether you need to renew your passport, or how to go about it, Kelly Johnstone at Avanti Travel Insurance has shared all that you need to know.

Knowing when to renew your passport is just as important as booking flights or a hotel – without it there is no holiday.

In the simplest terms, you will need to renew your passport for one of three reasons: it has expired, it is over 10 years old, or there is not enough time left on it.

READ MORE: The 6 countries whose passports are named most powerful in the world

Landing passenger plane during sunset.

It’s very important to make sure your passport is in date else you won’t be able to go on holiday (Image: Getty)

“Not having enough time left on your passport often catches people out,” Kelly explained. The number of months left on your passport is an entry requirement for most countries, and it varies from country to country.”

The best practice is to visit the FCDO website and check the entry requirements for your destination. In the ‘Passport validity’ section you can find out how many months left are needed on your passport in order to travel.

At the current time of writing, the average waiting time to renew a UK passport is around three weeks. However, if you need your passport sooner you can take a look at the passport fast-track service.

“If the passport delays of 2022-23 have taught us anything, it’s to renew your passport as soon as you can. Make sure to check the expiry date and the date it was issued, as you can’t use a passport if it’s over 10 years old,” Kelly said.

Waiting at the Airport

Different countries have different periods required left on your passport for entry (Image: Getty)

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The quickest and cheapest way to get your passport sorted is by renewing it online. Simply head to the Government’s page for passports where there’ll be the option to renew your passport online for both adults and children.

In order to renew your passport online you will need your current passport (expired or soon-to-be expired), a digital photo (within the usual guidelines), and a credit or debit card to make payment.

If you prefer, it is still possible to renew your passport the traditional way by filling out a form and posting it to the Passport Office. You will need to supply the correct supporting documents along with the fee.

It’s also possible to renew your passport at some Post Offices. They can assist you in completing your application and send it off either digitally or through the post.

However, the Post Office will charge an extra £16 fee on top of the standard passport application cost and you will need to pay for your own photos if you use the postal application.

It costs £82.50 for an adult to replace or renew their passport online, and £93 if they decide to do it through the post. For children under 16, renewing a passport costs £53.50 online and £64 through the post. 

For anyone born on or before September 2, 1929, new passports and renewals are free of charge.

If you need your passport urgently and can’t afford to wait three weeks for your passport to arrive, you can use the ‘Online Premium’ fast track service at a cost of £193.50.

The earliest you will be able to get an appointment is two days after you apply, and the service can only be used to renew adult passports that were issued after December 31, 2001. You will get your passport at a 30-minute in-person appointment.

Another option is the one week Fast Track service which costs £155 for an adult passport and £126 for a child passport. You can’t apply online so you will need to fill out a form at the Post Office. Then you can book and pay for an appointment online. It can be used to renew adult and child passports, or apply for a new child passport. The new passport will be issued during your appointment.

Time board documents hand

If you have to reschedule your holiday, make sure to update your travel insurance (Image: Getty)

However, if you’ve applied using the standard service and are concerned that your passport won’t arrive in time for your trip, there are a couple of things you can try.

If your trip is in two weeks or less time, you can call the Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000. Here it is possible to check on the progress of your passport application and request to ‘upgrade’ your application.

If you meet the eligibility criteria to ‘upgrade’ your passport application then you can do so for a fee. This promises expedited processing within one week, although there is no guarantee. 

You will also need to provide proof that you are travelling, for example pre-booked flight tickets.

It’s possible to contact the Passport Adviceline if you are required to travel due to an emergency, such as the serious illness of a friend or family member abroad.

If you are unable to afford the cost of the Passport Office’s Fast Track and Premium services, or you are unable to get an appointment due to demand then there are two other options – call the Passport Office directly or reach out to your MP to see if they can help.

In the event that you are unable to get your passport in time and subsequently can’t travel, it is unlikely you will get a refund from your travel provider. You are also unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance.

Contacting your travel provider(s) may help solve the situation, as although they might not be able to provide a refund, they might be able to change the dates of your trip or offer you credit vouchers to rebook.

If the dates of your trip change or you do rebook, it’s important to update your travel insurance.