Up to half a million people are expected to book their summer holiday today on the busiest day of the year for agents.

The Identity and Passport Office (IPS) and ABTA have declared today ‘H-Day’, as the first full week back at work prompts customers to book a trip to sunnier climes.

The IPS is reminding holidaymakers that new anti-fraud measures mean it can take six weeks for first-time customers aged 16 and over to get a passport. The application now includes a face-to-face interview at one of 69 new passport offices around the country.

People will be asked basic information about themselves and the process will last about 30 minutes.

Home office minister Meg Hiller said: “Interviews for first time adult customers will build on other anti-fraud measures we have introduced such as enhanced background checks and more secure passports with your photo contained on a chip.”

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer added: “Booking a holiday is a great way of beating the Christmas blues which is why we find January such a busy time for agents. Before booking, customers must make sure their passport is valid.”