How long does it take for passport renewal?

How long does it take for passport renewal?

So you're getting married this summer.


And you have your honeymoon booked.

Double yay!!

Then you check your passports and your partner's passport has less than six months on it.

Oh no!

Because you must have at least six months left on your passport when you arrive at your dream honeymoon destination.

I must admit, that was news to me.

I didn't realise that most countries now need to see an absolute minimum of 6 months left on their existing passport before the Customs and Excise will allow travellers in.

And for us, this wasn't great news.

Soooo, how long does it take for passport renewal?

UK passport renewal

It turned out that one of our kids passports expires in September.

Cue panic.


Because unless you've been living under a rock, you will have no doubt seen that the government department (Home Office) which renews British passports have decided to strike.

So my first question was this.

What are the current passport waiting times UK?

I try to avoid the news at all times but I found myself going into a rabbit hole of bad news relating to the whole passport renewal chaos.

The media love a bit of bad news!!

And if you Google "how long does it take for passport renewal?" you will come across a tonne of websites all doom mongering about the passport staff strikes.

The media are all doing their best to frighten us all into believing that you might not be able to go on holiday as a result.


All the news sites say pretty much say the same thing.

That it may take 'up to 10 weeks" to renew a British passport.

Ten weeks!!!

Even the HMP Passport Office offer the same advice on their website.

how long passport renewal uk


Imagine you're getting married?

You've booked an incredible honeymoon to The Maldives then ta-da, then you discover your passport has less than the required six months on it.

So now that the passport peeps have decided to down tools and strike, it could potentially mean you can't go away.

I would have thought all of this bad news has struck fear into the hearts of thousands of brides and grooms across the UK.

Plus what about the millions of families who have booked their overseas holidays this summer?

I know I would be devastated if my new passport hadn't arrived in time to jet away to the sun.

When I first read the article shared with me by my beautiful wife Sam, I tried not to panic.

If it were true, this was not good news for us as one of our kids UK passport was due for renewal.

If we were made to wait ten weeks, it could potentially mean we couldn't go on holiday.

As obviously we couldn't go to the airport without him, leaving him high and dry and home alone!!!

Not a chance.

So how long does it take to renew a passport UK?

Or more importantly, how long from passport approved to delivery???

Surely it can't be 10 weeks!?

And the answer to that is, no it absolutely is not ten weeks.

Absolutely NOWHERE NEAR 10 weeks.

Keep reading to find out exactly how long it took me, from passport application to delivery.

Let me quickly walk you through the process.

UK passport renewal

First things first, hopefully you already have a UK passport and you simply want to renew it.

This blog post only focusses (pardon pun as a wedding photographer!!) on UK passport renewal NOT a new passport application.

The application for a brand new passport is much more complex.

It requires witnesses and a whole lot more detail than an easy UK passport renewal which is relatively straightforward.

Passport renewal UK

Passport renewal UK is really easy.

From beginning to end it took me less than five minutes.

And you know what the authorities have done to simplify the process which I totally love?

You can now take passport photos at home.

How amazing is that?

UK passport photo

The Home Office have softened their approach to passport photos which is a game changer.

No more schlepping to Snappy Snaps to get your passport pictures taken.

Instead, you can happily get your passport photos taken at home.

Wait, what?

You can actually take a photo in the comfort of your own home, FOR FREE?

I couldn't believe what I reading.

All those photo labs must be fuming.

Anyhow, I realise I am a professional wedding photographer so I know how to get an okay picture on my iPhone.

But even if you are not a professional, the passport website give you brilliant instructions on what to do.

And most importantly what not do!

How long does it take for passport renewal?

What I really loved was the fact that the AI the website uses can work out how likely it will be that the photo you have taken will pass.

The first picture I took of our son didn't pass because it was taken at a slight angle, which meant his head was tilted to one side.

I couldn't see it myself, but obviously the AI software they use could see it and consequently the photo wouldn't pass their strict quality control!

So I adjusted the photo slightly and this time the AI immediately gave it the green tick to say there was a high probability the photo would pass.

Happy days.

Anyhow, I completed the application enough from here on in and received an email to say they'd received the passport application.

That was on Tuesday 21st.

How long from passport approved to delivery 2023?

BUT, and it's a big but, they will not begin to process your passport application until they have received your old passport.

This is important.

Send it to them straight away.

I walked straight round to the Post Office and sent it by Special Delivery.

I wasn't taking any risks and I wanted to speed up the process.

The great thing about sending something important like a passport by Special Delivery is that it's guaranteed to arrive by the next day.

Yes, it costs about £6, but for peace of mind it was well worth the money.

Anyhow, on Friday 24th they sent an email to say they'd received the old passport.

Great news.

Then I waited.

And waited.

The Passport Service do give customers a tracking code so it's possible to see how things are progessing and here is the URL:

I was checking daily and no movement.

Then I received an email on Wednesday 29th to say the passport application had been approved.

They also mentioned that the new passport was being printed and they would let me know when it was being despatched.

How long from passport approved to delivery?

On Friday 31st I received another note to say the new passport had been printed and was being transferred to the delivery supplier.

Then on Monday 3rd I received a text message and an email from DHL to say the passport was being delivered that day.

And by midday, it was pushed through the door.

So exactly how long from passport approved to delivery?

How long to renew passport UK?

It was exactly 13 days from passport application to delivery.

So there it is.

No need to panic.

Less than a fortnight from start to finish.

By the way, if you can't wait 2 weeks for your passport, the Passport Service do have a rush service.

They have a one week fast track service.

There's also the online premium service and they turn passports around in 2 days.

But that passport service costs a whopping £193 or £204 if you are what they call a frequent traveller and need a 50 page passport.

Right I'm off now to put the passport safely away.

I hope you manage to avert your passport crisis like I did and if you follow the rules explained above, it should be relatively pain free.

how long passport renewal

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