BRITS are being urged to renew their passports now as delays are expected this summer.
However, holidays are not only still banned but have not been given the go ahead.
Due to the pandemic, passport renewals have dropped off with just four million people applying in 2020 compared to seven million in a normal year.
This has led to fears that there could be a huge surge as soon as holidays are given the go ahead, which could be announced next week.
However, Boris Johnson has refused to give an official start date for holidays abroad this year.
Families are warned to allow up to 10 weeks to get their passport, instead of the usual six weeks.
This means, if you applied for a passport on April 12 when the travel announcement is made, you may not get it back until mid-June.
Director General of Her Majesty’s Passport Office, Abi Tierney, said: “It is vital those who may need to apply for a new passport do so now. If you have delayed renewing your passport or are applying for the first time, please apply now so you can receive it in good time.
“Our dedicated staff work tirelessly to ensure that passport applications are processed as quickly as possible.”
“This new advice will help to ensure that we continue to meet the travel plans of our customers during any period of the very highest passport demand.
“Her Majesty’s Passport Office will be sending text messages to people whose passports are nearing expiration to let them know to allow more time when they renew.”
Families also cannot book holidays without a valid passport as the new passport will have a different number.
Renewing passports can be done online via the gov.uk website or via a paper form, although is urged to do online as it is cheaper and easier.
The fee rose in 2018 to £75.50 for online applications and £85 for postal applications.
Charges for children’s passports also went up from £46 to £49 online and £58.50 in the post.
UK passports are now blue after the country left the EU – but there are only four passport colours in the world.
Brits are also going to need vaccine passports to go on holiday this year, Boris Johnson has warned.
Countries such as Spain, Greece and Portugal want vaccinated Brits back, offering restriction-free travel for tourists with both jabs this summer.