Travel chaos as UK passports lost during Covid backlog triple previous years

Travel chaos as UK passports lost during Covid backlog triple. Image: HM Passport Agency

The number of passports lost by the Home Office in 2021 amidst the covid catch-up battle has tripled the amount seen in the previous year.

In 2021, 312 passports were lost compared to the 168 that were mislaid during 2019 the Daily Mail confirmed on Sunday, August 7.

The Passport Office staff numbers also fell. In 2015 4,376 staff were employed by the Passport Office compared to the figures for 2021 of just 3,704 employees.

The Passport office confirmed that more than five million applications for passports were delayed during the pandemic because of international travel curbs. Governments around the world effectively shut their borders in a bid to control the spread of Covid.

Thomas Greig, Passport Office Director, confirmed that staff are still working from home despite the shocking backlog but added that even though staff are working from home it does not affect their ability to process applications.

HM Passport Agency suggests allowing up to 10 weeks to receive your passport from receipt of application. There are different turnaround times if you’re applying from another country.

The vast majority of all passport applications are being dealt with well within 10 weeks. However, a passport can only be issued once all the checks have been completed satisfactorily and will take longer if applications are submitted with missing or incomplete information.

You can either apply online to use the standard service through the passport website or you can apply with a paper form from a post office for an extra fee. 


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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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