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How to get a British passport

As a British citizen, you have the right to request a passport. This is a travel document that serves as proof of identity whenever you travel abroad or re-enter British territory. But a passport allows you to do much more than that. For example, if you decide to take your chances abroad, you'll be asked to show your passport to open a bank account, rent/buy a home, or even get married. Let's see what steps you need to take to request your first British passport or renew an old one.

How to get a passport or renew it in the UK


To apply for your first British adult passport, you must be:

  • • A British Citizen
  • • At least 16 years old
  • • Applying for a passport for the first time


You may choose to apply in two ways: online or by post.


If you are in a hurry, applying online is the fastest option to get your passport. To obtain your passport, you must provide:

  • • One recent digital photo
  • • The details of someone who can confirm your identity. This person will receive an email from an HM Passport Office requesting them to confirm your identity and provide their passport details and personal information. They will also verify that you are in the digital photo you uploaded.
  • • Your birth certificate
  • • A debit or credit card to pay the fee

Applying by post

If you are applying by post, please know that it'll take longer to process than if you apply online. To apply, you will need need to:

  • • Fill in the application form, which you can get from either a Post Office offering the Passport Check and Send service, or the Passport Adviceline. Make sure to fill in sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9. Know that using the Passport Check and Send service will add an extra £16.00 to your application cost.
  • • Provide 2 identical passport photos
  • • Share the details of someone who can confirm your identity. Your ‘counter signatory’ will need to fill in section 10 in your paper form, and also sign and date one of your above-mentioned passport photos.
  • • Provide your birth certificate
  • • Pay the fee.

To post your application form and accompanying documentation, you should use the pre-printed envelope included with the form, or one provided by the Post Office if you chose to use the Passport Check and Send service. Bear in mind that once your application has been received, you may be asked to attend an interview, either in person or online, with the purpose of confirming your identity.


The child passport can be requested for children under the age of 16. This passport needs to be applied for by an adult with parental responsibility for the child in question. Notice that both parents' details need to be provided when applying, if applicable.

How to apply for a child passport

As it's the case with the adult passport; you can also also apply for a child passport either online or by post. Remember this passport can only be requested for a child that holds the British nationality and who has never had a British passport issued to him or her before. The application fee is £49 if you’re applying online or £58.50 if you apply by post.


You can apply to renew or replace your passport if your current passport:

  • • Has expired
  • • Has less than 6 months left
  • • Has been lost, stolen or damaged

You will need to fulfil the same requirements and follow the same steps as for the first passport application. But in this case, you will also have to submit your old passport. They will cut the passport's cover and return it to you. If your old passport has a valid visa attached to it, your will need to carry both passports when travelling.

The costs and processing times are also the same as when you apply for an adult passport for the first time, just as we explained above.

Note No matter if you're applying for the first-time or renewing your passport, you can track your passport application online. Simply choose the method you chose to apply and follow the instructions.

Did you know?

After the country's exit from the European Union (EU), British passports have now return to their pre-EU colour: dark blue. If you happen to hold one of the previous passports in burgundy or with the legend “European Union”, your passport continues to be valid until its expiration date. This means there is no need for you to get a new one until your current one expires.