A backlog of more than 400,000 passport applications has mounted due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.
Home Office minister Baroness Williams said reduced staffing to allow social distancing meant forms were taking longer to process.
She said steps were being taken to increase capacity after travel restrictions were eased.
But those applying may have to wait longer than the usual three weeks.
Asked how long it would take to clear the backlog, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Breakfast he did not know – “it’s not quite my area”, adding that the Home Office was working hard to clear it.
The Passport Office is advising only people going away before September or those travelling on compassionate grounds should apply now for a passport.
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