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Germans warned of long passport waiting times: How do other European countries compare?

Germans warned of long passport waiting times: How do other European countries compare?

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Don’t miss out on your summer holiday: Renewing a passport can take as little as one day or as long as eight weeks depending on where you live in Europe.

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Planning a last minute holiday? Be sure to check the expiry date on your passport.

While many Brits have been stung by post-Brexit validity rules in recent years, Germany is plagued by lengthy passport application wait times this summer.

Many German holidaymakers have been caught off guard by the delays at the Federal Printing Office, which have seen passport processing times shoot up from two weeks to eight.

For those with flights to catch, this means shelling out extra for an express application – and potentially losing their initial fee, as orders can’t be cancelled – or applying for a temporary passport to cover their trip.

With record numbers of passports ordered in Germany since the start of 2024, hundreds of thousands of citizens could be affected.

Whether you’re in Germany or elsewhere in Europe, here’s how long you can expect to wait for a new passport this summer. 

Belgium: Passport renewal is one of the fastest in Europe

Belgian citizens are luckier when it comes to last-minute trip planning: passports will usually arrive at the municipal office within five working days of submitting a renewal request.

Urgent processing is also available, with requests submitted before 3pm fulfilled by the next working day. But it will cost you: the fee is €240 compared with the usual €60.  

Still panicking? At €300, the super-urgent procedure sees new Belgian passports requested before 3pm on weekdays delivered by 4:30am the following morning, or if requested on Saturday by 10am the next day.

France: Passport renewal times vary by prefecture

French holidaymakers have to be better at planning ahead. While it varies by prefecture, the time taken to issue passports in France is currently up to eight weeks from the date of application in some places.

If you need to renew your French passport, check the waiting time for an appointment at your local town hall, as well as the processing, manufacturing, packaging and delivery times. 

It costs €86 to renew your French passport. Temporary passports can be issued in emergency situations.

Germany: Passport renewals face delays

‘Ever-efficient Germany’ is losing its title, as passport waiting times shoot up from as few as two weeks to as many as eight. 

Official government advice is to allow a processing time of six to eight weeks for standard German passport renewals, which are priced at €70. 

For an additional fee of €32, you can also apply for a biometric passport using the express procedure. For orders sent off before midday, the passport will be ready for collection within three working days.

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Italy: Passport renewal has relatively short waiting times

In Italy, waiting times for a new passport are relatively short, but costs are high compared with many other European countries.

It usually takes between two and three weeks for a new passport to be issued. If you need your travel documents sooner, you can request an expedited service from your ‘questura’ (local police headquarters).

It costs a total of €116 to get a new Italian passport, which covers the booklet itself and the ‘march da bolo’ (administration fee).

Netherlands: Passport renewal takes as little as one week

In the Netherlands, it can take up to four weeks for your Dutch passport to be ready for collection. If additional research into your identity is required, this could rise to eight weeks.

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But generally, passports are ready within five working days of applying and cost €148.50.

If your request is urgent, you can make an emergency application. Submit it before 2pm from Monday to Thursday and you can collect your new passport the next working day, while applications submitted on Friday will be processed by Monday, and those submitted over the weekend will be ready by Tuesday. 

Additional costs for express applications vary by municipality, with a maximum limit of €83.87 and an average of €57.

Spain: Passport renewal is fast and cheap

In Spain, your passport is issued on the same day as your application appointment. However, the availability of appointments varies depending on where you are based and how busy your local office is at the time – meaning you may need to plan weeks in advance.

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It is therefore best to book a passport renewal appointment well ahead of your document’s expiry date.

A new Spanish passport costs up to €30 – one of the cheapest in Europe.

UK: Passport renewal times have improved in recent months

In the UK, things are looking up since the 10-week waiting times experienced after the pandemic. Now, you’ll usually receive your British passport within three weeks of your application being received. You will be informed within this time if there are any delays.

A standard passport renewal costs £88.50 (€105) if you apply online, while the one-week fast track service costs £166.50 (€198) and the one-day premium service is priced at £207.50 (€246).

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Since the UK left the EU, it is important to note that British passport holders are classified as ‘third country nationals’. This means your passport must be valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave the EU.



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