The Easter holidays are upon us and soon the summer break will be here too.
Due to the covid pandemic, a lockdown was enforced meaning international travel was ground to a halt.
In that time, many passports will have expired and because of the tight restrictions, some may have abandoned the thought of renewing their passport until the travel sector eased.
However now the sector is easing and tourism is once again picking up, holidaymakers are being urged to get apply for a new passport early because processing could take as long as ten weeks.
That means anyone applying for a passport or renewal now will be unable to jet off for until June 21 - and that's only if there are no hold-ups.
The ongoing delays are said to be due to a backlog of covid applications as well as a shortage of passport workers because of the Ukraine war.
Last month new passports were being turned around in six weeks and renewals in five but now that looks set to double.
According to the Mirror an insider said: “Many of our staff have been seconded to deal with visas for Ukrainians. Processing those is now our top priority so we can get as many as we can to safety.”
The Passport Office deals with seven million applications during a normal year but that dropped to four million at the height of the pandemic when travel was banned.
Now officials are bracing themselves for a sudden influx of five million applications from 2020 and 2021 as people plan to jet away for the first time in two years as they warn of a shortage of last minute travel applications too.
Shadow Home Office minister Stephen Kinnock said: "Time and again Priti Patel ’s Home Office messes things up and fails to put proper plans in place.
"These are completely unacceptable delays. British families shouldn't be missing out on hard earned breaks because the Home Office didn’t plan."
Passport Director General Abi Tierney added: "Many people are leaving applying for a passport too late. Summer holidays are fast approaching so if you need a new passport we urge you to apply now.”
A spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents said: "We are encouraging people to renew or apply as early as possible so they have their passport in good time for their trip."