passport renewal

Passport Renewal Tips

The cheapest way to get a passport and how to avoid copycat sites

With standard passports taking more than 10 weeks to be processed, if you're going away in summer you need to apply NOW to get your passport issued or renewed in time. We've the cheapest way to apply, how to get one quicker, and how to avoid shyster sites charging extra for 'checking' services.

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You may need at least six months left on your passport to travel

Don’t assume if your passport is valid for the duration of your stay, everything is fine. Countries have a variety of rules about how long you need left, and how old the passport can be. Since Brexit, this includes most EU countries too.

If you fall foul of these, you could be refused entry – we've heard one story of a family's four-year-old girl being refused entry to Turkey because she had less than two months left on her passport.

Here's our list of 40 common destinations' passport rules:

DESTINATION PASSPORT VALIDITY

Australia

- Valid for the whole duration of your stay. No additional period required.
- If transiting another country on route to/from Australia, check entry requirements for that country too.

Austria - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Barbados - Valid for the whole duration of your stay. No additional period required.
Belgium - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Bulgaria - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Canada - Valid for the whole duration of your stay. No additional period required.
Croatia - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Republic of Cyprus - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Czech Republic - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Denmark - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Egypt - Valid for at least six months from the day you enter.
Estonia - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Finland - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
France - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Germany - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Gibraltar - Valid for the whole duration of your stay. No additional period required.
Greece - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Hungary - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Iceland

- Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.

- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.

India - Valid for at least 180 days on the day you enter.
Ireland

- Passport not required for British nationals travelling from the UK. Yet immigration officers check the ID of passengers arriving by air and may ask for proof of nationality, so it's best to take your passport.

- If using a passport, it should be valid for the whole duration of your stay.

Italy - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Latvia - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Lithuania - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Luxembourg - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Malta - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Netherlands - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Norway

- Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.

- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.

Poland - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Portugal - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Romania - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Slovakia - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Slovenia - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Spain - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Sweden - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Switzerland - Less than 10 years old on the day you enter.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Thailand

- Valid for at least six months from the day you enter.

- Non-damaged passport with no pages missing.

Turkey

- Valid for at least six months from the day you enter.

- A full blank page for the entry and exit stamps.

United Arab Emirates

- Valid for at least six months from the day you enter.

- If transiting (and not passing through immigration) your passport must be valid for at least three months.

USA - Valid for the whole duration of your stay. No additional period required.

Rules for travellers on a full 'British Citizen' passport from the UK. Last checked on Tue 3 May

Country not listed? For a full list of destinations' entry requirements, see Gov.uk

It's cheapest to apply for a passport online

The only site you'll ever need to go to is the Gov.uk website. It has options for getting your first passport, renewing an old one or getting one for your child.

You can apply online, which is the cheapest option, or by paper at the Post Office. The table below has all the passport services you can choose from (for all types, you can pay £10 extra for a 50-page jumbo passport).

Passports can take 10 weeks or more to be processed, so apply early

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on travel, with many delaying passport renewal applications until they want to go away. The Passport Office is warning that renewing can take up to 10 weeks for both online and postal applications – much longer than the usual three weeks pre-pandemic – and we've heard tales of it taking much longer, with reports of lost documents, or delivery delays too. 

For the week ending 29 April 2022, the Passport Office said typical processing times for online applications were 10 weeks with the 'vast majority' of applications turned around in this time. Yet this can change quickly, so it's best to apply now if you're hoping to go away in the summer months.

If you need a passport urgently, you'll need to book an appointment at a passport office and pay online. Alternatively, call the Passport Office on 0300 222 0000 to book an appointment and pay.

Do note that the times are the Passport Office's current targets, so they're not guaranteed to arrive within that time - as we say above, it's best to apply as early as possible before the passport is needed.

Passport type Time taken for passport issue Online price
Price by post
Adult 10 weeks £75.50 £85
Adult 'Fast-track' One week after appointment £142 -
Adult 'Premium' (1) At the appointment £177 -
Child 10 weeks £49 £58.50
Child 'Fast-track' One week after appointment £122 -

(1) There's no child equivalent one-day service

Got a burgundy passport? Newly-issued UK passports have a blue cover, but you DON'T need to get a new passport straightaway – you can keep using your burgundy passport until it's due for renewal. The blue passports will only be issued when you renew or apply for a new passport.

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Beware copycat sites that charge extra on top of official fees

More than 300 people in our shyster sites poll were caught by one of several sites that look like the official Government site for passports, but charge people £20-£100 on top of the official passport fee. Many are just expensive form-filling services, though some also offer a 'checking' service.

If you do need help, the Post Office's Check & Send service ensures you've included the correct documents, that your photos don't breach any of the restrictions and that you've filled in the forms correctly. It'll also send your application by special delivery. It costs £16 on top of the passport fee.

It's very difficult getting a refund, but it's not impossible

The sad thing is that these sites are legal. They're offering a service, some similar to the Post Office's Check & Send, it's just that they're charging up to 10 times more for it.

Saying that, if you or someone you know has been caught, it's well worth writing to the shyster site (speed is of the essence so emailing is probably best), saying that they want to cancel their contract and get a refund. Beware calling their expensive phone lines though – they typically charge £1.50/min. We've written a template letter to help. Please let us know how you get on.

You can also report the incident to the Competition and Markets Authority or Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0345 404 0506.

MoneySaver ShinyDoc managed to get a refund: "I renewed two passports using this service [a shyster site]! But I noticed almost immediately and asked for a full refund, which I received about 24 hours later. The full amount was credited back to the account I supplied."

See our Shyster Sites guide for more information about how to go about getting a refund if you've been misled by passport sites, ESTA sites, GHIC/EHIC sites and more.

Have your say! Have you been caught by a shyster site? Join the forum discussion to share your experience, especially if you got your money back.

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