Using fast-track passport renewal to get travelling quickly in the UK

International calling
Get Started

Whether for work or leisure, you never know when you’ll suddenly need to get abroad.

If you get unlucky and your passport is set to expire, with UK passports always expiring after 10 years for adults, you’ll need to get it renewed. But the usual wait time for a new passport is 3 weeks.

What if you need it sooner? This is where fast-track services come in.

When do I need to renew my passport?

There’s no point in having a passport if it’s out of date - expired passports may as well be an arts-and-crafts notebook. This means ensuring your passport is up-to-date is as important as having one in the first place if you want to travel abroad. 

For UK adults passports typically expire after 10 years, while for children they expire after 5 years. The issuing date and the expiry date for your passport should both be on the main page of information inside your passport.

This expiry date can creep up on you, so make sure to mark the date in your calendar and renew your passport earlier rather than later. Whether you're planning a vacation, business trip, or need to travel abroad unexpectedly, having a valid passport is essential for crossing international borders. 

Being aware of your passport's expiration date and renewing it promptly when necessary can help avoid travel complications.

The Government’s Fast-track Passport Scheme

How much: £155

The Fast-Track passport renewal scheme allows any UK citizen to apply for a faster passport, costing £155 for an adult passport renewal and £126 for a children’s passport.
This is equal to just under double that of your standard UK passport renewal fee, which stands at £82.50 - £93 (depending on if you apply online vs paper documents) as of 2024.

How fast: 1 week

Upon completing your meeting at one of the UK’s Passport Customer Service Centres, you should receive your new passport delivered directly to your address within one week.

What is the fast track passport renewal service?

Fast-track passport renewal is a UK Passport Office service prioritising urgent passport applications, guaranteeing only a week’s delay between applications and a new passport, unlike the vague 3-week guess of a normal renewal, which can sometimes be longer.
Whether for personal, professional, or emergency travel, this service ensures timely renewal, allowing travellers to meet their needs without delays, though for a higher cost than normal.

How to apply for a 1 week Fast Track passport

Applying for a 1-week Fast Track passport involves only a few simple steps to guarantee a smooth and expedited process. The first thing to do is gather the required documentation including your current passport and photos. 

Next, you need to: 

  1. Book an appointment and pay online here
  2. Fill in a paper application form that you can obtain from a local Post Office
  3. Get 2 printed photos of your current passport, and gather your documents
  4. Take your form, photos and documents to your appointment

Apply either online or in person at your nearest Passport Customer Service Centre - these can be found in the following cities:

  • Belfast
  • Durham
  • Glasgow
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Newport
  • Peterborough

Your scheduled appointment will take place in your nearest Passport Customer Service Centre, though you can track your application progress online. Once this is done, you can expect passport arrival within a week.

Using the post office to apply for your passport

Although your scheduled meeting will need to be at a Passport Customer Service Centre, most UK post offices provide passport application services, allowing you to send paper documents at the initial stage if you would prefer this over applying online.

Just find your local post office branch and ask for the relevant passport fast-track documents. Once filled out, you can of course use the same post office to send your documents.

Please keep in mind that paper applications require an additional fee compared to online applications.

Getting passport advice and submitting complaints

For guidance on urgent passport renewal matters such as medical issues or family bereavement, make sure to contact the Passport Adviceline, which offers support specifically to UK citizens who need a new passport for very urgent reasons.

If you desperately need to get an emergency passport same-day in the UK, whether for medical emergencies, family crises, or government-related travel, seek assistance from the Adviceline for expedited passport services. This same line can also be used to resolve any complaints or issues you may be having with your passport application.

How to apply for the online premium service

How much: £193.50

Slightly more expensive than the normal fast-track service, the online premium service costs £193.50 for all passports, adult or child.

How fast: 1 day

If you live close enough to a Passport Customer Service Centre, you can theoretically collect your passport within 24 hours. However, if you account for travel time, or request for your passport to be delivered, it may take a couple of days.

What is the online premium service?

The UK Online Premium Passport Service allows individuals to renew their passports and apply for new ones online, with the added benefit of extremely fast processing.

By using this service, you can enjoy the convenience of submitting your application from the comfort of your own home, without the need for in-person visits to Passport Customer Service Centres.

Though a little more expensive, this service is your best bet if you need a new passport yesterday.

How to get a passport in the UK: your normal UK passport application system

How much: £82.50

A standard adult passport application will cost you £82.50, while a child’s passport will cost £53.50, though these prices are for online applications only. Applying with a paper form from the post office will cost an additional £16.

How fast: 3 weeks (roughly)

Standard passport applications follow regular processing times, which typically take three weeks from submission to receiving the new passport. This can sometimes be disrupted or take longer due to strikes or increased workload.

How does it work?

The default system, the standard UK passport application system is your normal route for getting a new passport.

Just like the speedier methods, it involves submitting the necessary documentation, including application forms, supporting materials, and payment, either online, by mail or in person at designated Passport Customer Service Centres. 

Though not as fast and more prone to delays, if you don’t need your passport urgently this is a reliable, and cheaper, option for getting a new passport.

Can I still get a new passport if I'm outside the UK?

If you are living abroad and need a new passport, you will need to consult the government’s overseas passports page online to determine the best method of getting a new passport for your specific country.

In most friendly countries such as European countries or the USA, the process is similar, where the government will deliver you a new passport to your address after completing an online process, requiring the same documents as usual.

If it is an emergency, however, you will need to get emergency travel documents, which allow you to travel through five consecutive countries before needing a new one. The cost is £100 for online application, and can only be used in cases of extreme emergencies, such as your passport getting stolen.

Can another person collect my passport for me?

Under certain circumstances, someone else can collect your passport on your behalf. However, they would need to provide appropriate authorization and identification documents to do so. 

This typically includes a letter of authorization from you, along with their own identification, to ensure the security and confidentiality of passport collection.

How can I change my passport appointment?

If you need to reschedule or change your passport appointment, you can typically do so online through the official government website, so long as the appointment is not within the next 48 hours.

If the appointment is within the next 48 hours, you cannot cancel or change it.

If you are struggling online, or originally applied via paper documents, you can also contact the Passport Adviceline for assistance in changing your appointment. 

Be sure to provide sufficient notice and have any necessary information ready to facilitate the appointment change process smoothly.

What is a frequent traveller passport?

In the UK a Frequent Traveller Passport is a specialised passport designed to cater to individuals who frequently travel internationally. 

These passports come with extended validity periods and additional visa pages, with the frequent traveller passport having 54 pages compared to the normal 34, which is to accommodate the frequent travel needs of the passport holder.

What does it cost?

Frequent traveller passports are typically more expensive, costing £93.50 for adults and £64.50 for children, along with additional fees for paper applications rather than online.

Does it take longer to arrive than a normal passport?

Not officially. Whichever method you have chosen to apply through, whether a standard passport application or one of the faster methods, you should receive your new frequent traveller passport as quickly as a standard UK passport.

Sources: all third party information obtained from applicable website as of February 14, 2024

This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to address every aspect of the matters discussed herein. The information in this article is not intended as specific personal advice. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, regulatory or other professional advice from IDT Payment Services, Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “IDT”), and should not be taken or used as such by any individual. IDT makes no representation, warranty or guaranty, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is current, accurate, or complete. You should obtain professional or other substantive advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the information in this article.