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Warning over leaving your passport application too late
5:30pm Saturday 23rd February 2013 in News
THE Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has launched a campaign to encourage people in the area to apply for a passport early after more than 289,000 left it until the last minue last summer.
The surge in demand led to unprecedented numbers of counter applications for the Passport Service to process and customers facing delays to their summer holiday or missing out altogether.
Figures show that parents applying for passports for their children and young people aged 16 to 20 were the two biggest groups to submit a last minute application.
Despite extra staff being employed by IPS during the summer months, there are limited numbers of appointments at passport offices for a fast track service and customers cannot always rely on a last minute call to the Passport Service to beat the rush.
To avoid a disappointing summer, IPS is urging customers across the area to apply before April to ensure they have their passport in time. They could receive it quicker than the advised three week period and save up to £55.50 by avoiding having to pay for a fast track appointment for a standard passport.
Sarah Rapson, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, said: “The Identity and Passport Service works hard each year to process more than 5.5 million applications to ensure customers can travel abroad for business or on holiday.
“But to ensure passports remain one of the most trusted and secure documents in the world, each application takes time to process.
“All too often, people plan every other part of their holiday and forget one of the most important things – their passport. They are then forced to apply last minute, running the risk of missing out on their holiday altogether.
“Applying early and outside the busy summer months will help ensure customers receive their passport in good time and could even save them money.”
More than 83,000 people in North West England applied for a passport in July alone last year. This compares with 56,000 in January. Customers from the Manchester postcode made the most applications last year with almost 11,000 applying, more than 3,000 up from the number of January applications.
From September 2012 it became even cheaper to apply for a passport with a standard adult passport dropping in price by £5 to £72.50. All other application types also reduced in price.
Travellers can renew their passport in one of three ways:
• fill in the form online - the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) will post it back to you to check and sign
• get one from a Post Office that offers the Passport Check & Send service
• ask the Passport Advice line to post you one.