The UK passport office website has crashed after a surge of applications to renew passports. 3.5m Brits were told to renew their passports to guarantee travel into the EU, should the UK exit the EU with a no-deal Brexit.
In January, Which? revealed that around 3.5m UK passports will not be accepted for travel to the Schengen zone, 26 European countries that have officially abolished passport control at their mutual borders, from 30 March if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
The passport office said in a statement on Twitter, “There are currently technical issues with our website.
“We are working to resolve this as quickly as possible and will let you know when it’s up and running. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”
Rory Boland, Which? travel Editor said, “Millions of people could find their holiday plans disrupted or worse yet find themselves stranded at the departure gate and prevented from travelling altogether if they fail to renew their passport before the cut-off date.
“Anyone who thinks they might be affected should look to renew their passport today or if you already have travel plans in the near future consider using the fast track passport renewal service.”
Unfortunately, it can take up to three weeks to renew a passport however, the deadline to renew your passport ends today.
A spokesman for the Home Office said, “If there is no deal, new rules would apply when travelling on a British passport to many.
“If your passport does not meet the new rules, you should apply for a new passport before travelling to the countries affected.
“You can use the government’s online passport checker to check a passport for travel to Europe.
“We recommend that you renew your passport in good time ahead of your travel date.
“In January we launched our ongoing campaign to inform the public of these new rules, and we continue to work with partners in the travel and transport industries to inform people with bookings after 29 March 2019.”