Passport cock-up chaos leaves people playing Russian Roulette with holiday plans

Cock-ups in the processing of passports are set to cost £1billion in cancelled trips this summer.

Thousands of Brits will be forced to abandon dream holidays abroad because of huge delays in their travel documents arriving.

Fraught passengers are playing Russian roulette with getaways and have just a 50% probability of a “successful and timely” passport renewal process, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Home Office minister Kevin Foster warned holidaymakers to submit passport applications as soon as possible.

He said: “We’d advise people this is a virtually unprecedented surge in demand.”

But the chaos means the UK economy will rake in millions. VisitBritain research showed 21million adults are planning an overnight UK-based trip between July and September, which amounts to a £5.7billion spending boost.

And campsite bookings are up 40% on last year, camping website Pitchup.com said.

The firm’s founder Dan Yates said: “With the cost-of-living crisis and the environmental crisis weighing on people’s minds, domestic camping and glamping provides a cheaper and lower impact option.”

The number of valid UK passports fell by over 2.5 million in the first two years of the pandemic.

The Passport Office is advising travellers to apply at least 10 weeks in advance. It comes after the number of valid UK passports fell by 2.6 million over two years from 2019 as people delayed applications.

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The rules are also more complicated because since Brexit, Brits can no longer travel to the EU on a passport that's about to expire.

Under Schengen Area rules, your passport must be less than 10 years old on the day you enter, and valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.

The three-month rule does not apply to Ireland but does apply to some non-EU countries too – Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City.

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