A WEBSITE set up by a Dorset man is logging how long people are waiting for passports amid fears that a million people could cancel their holidays.

The Centre for Economics and Research (Cebr) has estimated there is only a 50 per cent probability of a “successful and timely” passport process for travellers at the moment.

The Passport Office has urged people to apply 10 weeks before they need their passport.

Bournemouth Echo:

How the waiting time for a first adult passport has fluctuated since July 2020, according to passportwaitingtime.co.uk

Poole resident Andy Anderson set up the website passportwaitingtime.co.uk, which displays current waiting times, based on information submitted by users.

“The website has been getting more than 30,000 page views per day due to the current demand for passports,” he said.

As of May 3, the site’s users were reporting that a first adult passport was taking an average of 41.8 days to arrive.

An adult renewal was taking 25.87 days, a first child passport 39.29 days and a child renewal 27.75 days.

“I set it up in about 2018 purely because I left it to the last minute to get my passport and it came in the nick of time,” Mr Anderson said of the website.

“I thought there has to be a way people can find better information about when a passport is coming.”

Around 150-200 people record their experiences each day.

Delays had been “particularly bad” in the past 18 months, Mr Anderson said. Experiences varied depending on which passport centre was handling an application, which was the “luck of the draw”.

The website also encourages users to submit reviews of their experience.

Some have said they suffered long delays or even had to cancel their holidays, but many have said the service was better than they expected.

Bournemouth Echo:

How the waiting time for an adult passport renewal has fluctuated since July 2020, according to passportwaitingtime.co.uk

One user said: “When we applied, the wait was listed as four weeks, so we booked our trip for seven weeks after, but ended up needing to cancel.”

One said their application for a child passport to be swapped for an adult passport was held up for six-and-a-half weeks.

“At the time, waiting times were five weeks. While processing, they changed it to 10 weeks,” the user wrote.

Among many who said their passport arrived smoothly, one said: “I applied early because of the horror stories about timescales. I allowed 15 weeks for renewal. Turns out to be less than two weeks.”

The Passport Office has said it has increased staff numbers by 500 since April 2021, giving it more than 4,000 staff in passport production, and is in the process of recruiting another 700.

It has urged people to apply as soon as possible, at least 10 weeks before they travel, and to apply online. It says having staff working from home has had no effect on capacity.

The Daily Echo reported recently how one family missed their holiday because of a rule being enforced in some European countries.

Not only must passports have at least three months left to run, but they must not be more than 10 years old – presenting a potential problem if the existing passport was a renewal issued early.