A COUPLE could be forced to cancel their £40,000 wedding thanks to continued chaos at the Passport Office.
Lucia Thompson and her partner, both Brits who live in Australia, were due to fly to the UK to marry next month – but they've since been told they must allow 13 weeks for their newborn's passport to arrive.
It means the husband and wife-to-be may need to postpone their nuptials for the third time in two years after Covid scuppered the first and second dates.
And they risk losing the small fortune they have forked out for the ceremony as most travel insurance doesn't cover passport delays.
Lucia told Guardian Money: "We applied for our son’s passport in March as soon as the birth certificate was issued.
"The helpline has told us we should have allowed more time, even though we had no control over when our baby was born.
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"The cost of the wedding is about £40,000, not to mention the cost to guests flying in, and our insurance does not cover us for passport issues."
Lucia and her fiancé are among millions of families at risk of losing their summer holidays due to "shambolic" passport delays.
Ministers have warned the 10-week target to process applications is repeatedly being missed.
The backlog has pushed the Home Office to urge travellers to get their paperwork in "as soon as possible" to avoid missing out and being left out of pocket.
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Most holidaymakers are waiting around 10 to 12 weeks, but some have reported delays of up to five months.
A Passport Office spokesperson said: "We have been advising people to allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their British passport as more than five million people delayed applying due to the pandemic.
"We urge people who need a new passport to apply for one as soon as possible.
"The vast majority of all passports applications are being dealt with well within 10 weeks."
Post-Brexit EU rules mean Brit passports must have at least three months remaining.
But some airlines are banning travellers from boarding certain flights unless they have six months left.
And other rules mean anyone with more than 10 years on their passport can no longer use the additional months.
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Past rules allowed Brits to roll over up to nine months from their previous document, up to a maximum 10 years and nine months – but these are no longer valid.
For example, if you are visiting Spain in May 2022, your passport start date will need to be no older than August 2012.
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