If you’re finally planning a trip overseas but just realised your passport has expired - make sure you set aside six weeks to get it renewed.

That’s right, six weeks. 

The high demand for passport renewals after the borders reopened has shifted the processing time from 10 working days to 22 working days, Department of Internal Affairs’ deputy chief executive of service delivery and operations, Maria Robertson, says. 

This is equivalent to 32 calendar days, so about five weeks.

“Plus there’s the time for passports to arrive via a targeted overnight delivery which can take up to five days to reach a destination,” Robertson says.

Robertson says the sharp increase in passport renewal requests and staff absences due to the Omicron outbreak are to blame for the delay. 

“We anticipate an improvement in the delivery of services as staffing levels return to normal. We have also increased our staffing level to address the increase in demand for passports.”

More than 671,300 passports were due to expire between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2022. Only 272,647 passports were renewed during that period. 

Top image: Hand holding a New Zealand passport in front of a map of Europe. (File photo) Photo: iStock Images 

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