Need to renew your UK passport? Here's how much it will cost and how long it will take

UK passport fees increased in February.
UK passport fees increased in February.   -  Copyright  Ethan Wilkinson | Unsplash
By Angela Symons

UK passport application fees went up on 2 February for the first time in five years. Yet wait times for passport renewals remain at an all-time high.

This week, the government warned that lengthy, COVID-era waiting times would remain in place due to "elevated" and "volatile" demand, The Telegraph reports. 

British holidaymakers are advised to allow 10 weeks for passport renewal. 

The government said the new fees would help reduce the reliance on taxpayer money to fund and improve the service. As well as contributing to the cost of processing applications, the fees are supposed to support consular services overseas, like replacing lost or stolen passports, and the processing of British citizens at UK borders.

How much have UK passport fees increased by?

As of this month, the fee for a standard online passport application made from within the UK has risen from £75.50 (€85) to £82.50 (€93) for adults and from £49 (€55) to £53.50 (€60) for children

Postal applications have increased from £85 (€96) to £93 (€105) for adults and £58.50 (€66) to £64 (€72) for children.

The increased fees apply to both new passport applications and renewals.

How do the UK’s passport fees compare to other European countries?

In France, the adult fee for a passport application from within the country is €86. However, if you are replacing your passport because it no longer has blank pages or because your address or name has changed, it can be replaced free of charge.

Italy’s adult passport fee is €73.50. An additional yearly stamp duty of €40.29 was abolished in 2014. It now only needs to be paid once for each application bringing the total up to €116.

For Spanish passports, the renewal fee is significantly lower at €30.

For all of these countries, including the UK, adult passports are valid for 10 years (or five years for those under age 30 in Spain).

However, since Brexit, UK citizens need to be cautious of their passport expiration date.

Previously, Brits could travel in the EU up to and including the expiry date on their passports. Now, EU regulations classify UK citizens as 'third country nationals,' meaning your passport must be valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave the country you are visiting.

How far in advance should you apply for your UK passport?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the waiting time for passport renewals shot up to 10 weeks. This was because restrictions significantly impacted processing times.

Despite the lifting of restrictions and the increase in fees to improve the service, these long wait times remain.

If you need to renew your passport before a summer holiday in July, you should therefore look to submit your application before the last week of April.

In the UK, this can be done online - the cheaper option - or via the post using a paper form.

According to the UK government, over 95 per cent of standard passport applications have been processed within 10 weeks since January last year.

What if your holiday is in less than 10 weeks?

If you need a faster service, you can pay extra for an urgent passport renewal application from within the UK.

The Online Premium service can be applied for via the UK government website, but requires you to attend an in-person appointment at your nearest passport office where you will receive your new passport.

The earliest you can get an appointment is two days from when you apply and this service currently costs £177 (€199).

Alternatively, you can get your renewed passport delivered to your home one week after your appointment using the Fast Track service. This currently costs £142 (€160) for adults and £122 (€137.50) for children.

Priority service fees will also be raised in February to align with the price hikes for all other applications.