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SUN, sea and sand all make for the ideal holiday in paradise and your passport is your access pass to tropical climates in foreign countries.

But with a hefty backlog of applications for renewals following lockdown, here’s all you need to know about getting a new passport.

 Passports can be renewed online or by post

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Passports can be renewed online or by postCredit: PA:Press Association

How do I apply to renew a passport?

You must renew your passport if it has expired before you travel abroad – and if you have lost it you must replace it.

Some destinations won’t let you travel if your passport is about to expire, even if the date hasn’t passed yet – you can check the list of countries’ policies here.

Renewing passports can be done online or via a paper form.

To renew online visit the gov.uk website.

You must have a clear, in-focus and in-colour photo taken in the last month – and it must be a new photo from your now-expired passport even if your appearance is still the same. You should not smile in the photo.

For paper applications you must have two identical 45mmx35mm pictures attached.

Applications can be delayed if the photo criteria is not met.

You can then fill in the online application form or fill out the paper form.

Paper forms can be collected at a Post Office with a Check and Send service or by contacting Passport Adviceline.

However, in cases of emergency there are ways to get a passport urgently, which are much more expensive than standard renewals.

You will need photos countersigned for some passports – notably if it’s your first one.

It is important to note that time left on your old passport will no longer be added to your new one.

 Standard renewals should take three weeks - but coronavirus created a backlog of at least four months

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Standard renewals should take three weeks – but coronavirus created a backlog of at least four months

How much does it cost to renew a passport?

The fee rose in 2018 to £75.50 for online applications and £85 for postal applications, making HM Passport Office an added £50million in 2018-19.

Charges for children’s passports also went up from £46 to £49 online and £58.50 in the post.

Previously, a standard adult passport or renewal cost £72.50 regardless of how the application was made.

The £12.50 increase for the postal service represents a jump of 17 per cent for adults and 27 per cent for children.

It is free for those born on or before September 2, 1929.

The changes are underpinned by new fee-setting powers given to HM Passport Office under the Immigration Act 2016 to give it the resources it needs to process six million applications a year.

The price increase came into force on March 27, 2018.

These proposals were unrelated to the announcement that the UK passport will change colour from burgundy to blue after Britain leaves the EU.

 If you urgently need a passport there are fast-track options

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If you urgently need a passport there are fast-track optionsCredit: Alamy

How long does it take to renew a passport?

Simple applications and renewals should normally take three weeks – but applying for a first-time passport can take six weeks while mistakes on the application can lead to delays.

But coronavirus now means Brits face a four month delay in getting their passports as officials struggle with the backlog from lockdown.

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What colour will my new passport be when I renew it?

The government was issuing blue passports from March 2020 meaning anyone who was renewing then may have got the new design or received the standard burgundy colour.

By mid-2020 all British passports issued were planned to be blue.

The design change came into effect following Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirms a backlog of passports and driving licenses and asks government departments to return to work

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