Passport Office strikes: When are the walk-outs and will I be able to renew my passport?

Passport Office strikes: When are the walk-outs and will I be able to renew my passport?

Passport Office workers have gone on strike during a dispute with the government over jobs, pay and pensions. Here’s everything you need to know about the five-week walkout and what it means for renewing your passport. 

The strike began on 3 April and is set to last until 5 May.

More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at eight passport processing centres across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will walk out.

How will the strike affect passport renewal times?

The Home Office’s advice is to allow 10 weeks to renew a passport – and that hasn’t been updated in light of the strikes.

But PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said he expects to see “huge delays” for people trying to renew them ahead of their summer holidays.

He told Sky News: “In my opinion there will be huge delays in the already 10 weeks that people are supposed to apply for passports, and there will be huge disruption on the fast-track service that people can use when they want to get a passport quicker.

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“The Government says it has got contingency measures in place so we’ll see how that works out over the next few days and weeks, but I would expect there to be delays.”

The Home Office said the Passport Office is “well positioned to manage an extended period of industrial action” and said there were no plans to update the guidance around timeframes for passport renewals.

Passport Office strikes: When are the walk-outs and will I be able to renew my passport?

How do you renew a passport?

You can renew online, which costs £82.50, or using a paper form at a cost of £93.

For children under 16, applications cost £53.50 for online and £64 by post.

To apply online, you will need your existing passport and a digital photo that meets the standards for passport photos.

If you want to apply using a paper form, which you can get from a Post Office or by calling the Passport Adviceline.

What happens if you need a passport urgently during the strikes?

If you need a passport urgently and can’t wait 10 weeks, there are normally two options available at a higher cost.

The one-week Fast Track application service will deliver your new passport within a week of an in-person appointment at a passport office. You’ll need to book and pay for the appointment online.

It costs £155 for an adult passport and £126 for a child passport.

The Online Premium service is just for renewing adult passports and costs £193.50. You will get your new passport at the appointment.

However, on the first day of the strike both services were showing as unavailable due to high demand.

If you need to travel because a friend or relative has died or is seriously ill, or you need medical treatment, you can apply on compassionate grounds for an urgent passport.

The Home Office said services will be available for people who need passports in these circumstances – there are more details on the evidence needed on their website.

Why are passport office workers striking?

The strike is part of an increasingly bitter civil service dispute with the government over jobs, pay, pensions and conditions.

Civil servants are calling for a pay rise of at least 10%, protection to pensions, job security and no cuts to redundancy pay.

The government has said the demands – which it says would cost £2.4bn – are unaffordable.


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