Brits are being forced to fly to Belfast because of simple passport mistake | The Sun
FRANTIC Brits are being forced to fly across the country to get a new passport due to confusing new rules.
Since the UK left the EU, the new rules no longer allow Brits to have passports that are more than 10 years old.
Previously, you could carry up to 10 months from your previous document when you renewed – but these months are no longer valid.
However, a number of Brits have been caught out by this new rule.
And with the current Passport Office strike, many are being forced to fly to find a fast track appointment.
The huge demand for a quick service means they are hard to find in England and Wales – with the only destination often having any availability in Belfast.
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Liam, from Bristol, had booked flights to Paris from the UK for the French Open tennis tournament, and was due to fly on May 29.
However, he realised that despite his passport technically expiring in November 2023, it had already expired – as the start date was April 2013.
And with the current wait time for a new passport up to 10 weeks – and no fast track appointments near him – he had to book an appointment in Belfast instead, with the earliest being on May 17.
He told Sun Online Travel: "It's very annoying that such a significant change happened to our passports without us knowing.
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"I don't feel as though this information was made widely known or any attempt was made by authorities to get that message out."
However, he fears that it won't arrive in time for his flights despite the estimated fast track being around eight days.
He isn't the first person who has been forced to head to Belfast for a similar issue either.
Jenny Southan was banned from her flight to France because her passport had expired without realising because the start date was different to the expiry date.
She had to shell out another £250 to get to Belfast for the fast track service.
She said: "It took almost 48 hours to secure an Online Premium appointment and the earliest I could get a slot to pick up my new passport in person was 19 days later on April 25.
"What’s more, I would have to fly to the passport office in Belfast to collect it, as there were no slots in England.
"This maddening situation has cost me about £700 on the application, flights and hotel."
Other people on social media had also complained that the only place for fast tracks was Belfast.
One person wrote: "Passport renewal tryna send me Belfast for fast track."
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Another said: "Ryanair hi can you fly from Manchester to Belfast with you guys with a provisional driving licence instead of a passport? Trying to get to the passport office in Belfast to get one!"
The Home Office currently states that over 99.7 percent of standard applications are being processed within 10 weeks, with the majority of those delivered to customers well under this timescale.
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