Passport delays: Peterborough office queues build in the holiday rush


A backlog of applications ahead of holidays is being blamed for queues outside a city passport office.

People from as far away as London and Chesterfield waited for hours outside the Peterborough office on Monday.

HM Passport Office said delays were caused by a backlog of applications after as many as five million people had put off renewing their passport during the pandemic restrictions.

People were advised to leave 10 weeks for a new one, due to increased demand.

Post-Brexit travel rules that came into force last year mean many EU countries are insisting passports must be no more than 10 years old from the point of issue and be valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave the country you are visiting.

It has left people who do not meet those criteria struggling to get hold of new passports.

The Peterborough office on Northminster is one of seven in the country where you get an appointment or attempt to “fast track” your passport.

The others are in Belfast, Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Newport.

However, some of those queuing in Peterborough on Monday told the BBC they had travelled because they had been unable to get appointments in places such as Liverpool and London.

Hayley Milner, 29, had driven for two hours from Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, because “this is apparently where my documents went”.

“I applied on 3 April for my son’s renewal, and it’s been stuck on ‘received’ ever since – I went to Liverpool last week, and they couldn’t help.

“I turned up today at 5am with copies of all my documents – and they’ve done it. I’ve got the email to say it’s been printed.”

She said long-standing holiday bookings had been postponed during the Covid-19 restrictions period – “and now we go on Monday”.

Amy Foster, 31, travelled from Norwich in the hope of getting her passport before her flight to Rhodes in Greece on Thursday.

“I’ve waited five weeks already and they wouldn’t let you do a fast track for a first passport,” she said.

When the BBC spoke to her she had been standing in the queue for about four hours and she admitted “I don’t think I will be going [on holiday]”.

Several in the queue had travelled because the Peterborough office was the only place that had appointments, with one man saying he had been trying to get one at the London office and was now “seriously worried” he might not get his passport before a planned trip at the end of June.

A government spokesperson said: “Since April 2021, we’ve clearly stated that people should allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their passport to factor in the increased demand, which has seen five million people delay their passport application due to the pandemic.

“The latest figures show that over 90% of applications have been completed within six weeks.

“But we cannot compromise security checks and people should apply with plenty of time prior to travelling.”

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Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


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