Passports are taking over a week to process and waiting times have almost tripled in three years, according to new figures.
Average turnaround times released by the immigration minister show that it is not just passport control that has been hit by delays, but the processing of passport postal applications as well.
Damian Green revealed that the Identity and Passport Service took an average of 7.6 days to process the documentation in November 2011.
This was up from 1.8 days in November 2009.
December's processing figures were not much better - up from 1.8 days in 2009 to 5.5 days in 2011.
If weekends are excluded, this could mean it takes almost a week and a half for the service to process applications.
The average times are calculated from the point of receipt to time of dispatch, and do not include postal times.
The SNP's Mike Weir obtained the figures through a parliamentary question.
Separately, Green admitted that complaints to the Identity and Passport Service had risen by almost 1,000 from 2010 to 2011.
Of the figures available for 2011, the agency has so far received 8,258 complaints from the public, compared to 7,353 in 2010-11.
An IPS spokesperson said:
“IPS has maintained a high standard of customer service. We advise customers to allow at least three weeks for their passport to arrive, but successfully issue 99 per cent of renewals within two weeks
“We issued 5.3 million passports last year with less than less than two complaints for every thousand applications.
“We have maintained this high standard of service whilst delivering £42m in efficiency savings last year, stepping up passport security checks and detecting more fraud.”