As a citizen of the UK, you need to hold certain documents that allow you to prove your identity and your legal status in the country. Also, if you decide to travel abroad and to take your chances working or living in another country, you will need an official document in your new place of residence that allows you to carry out some important daily-life procedures such as opening a bank account, renting or buying a house or apartment, or even more complex decisions such as getting married. For all these purposes, the passport is the most suitable, and sometimes, the only allowed document you’ll need to present to the corresponding authorities.
For example, if you wish to travel outside the UK, you will be asked to present a passport, and if applicable, the respective visa for the country you are travelling to. This is why in the following lines we will be explaining the requirements and procedures to request your first adult passport, apply for a child’s passport, renew an expired passport or replace it in case of loss or theft. We hope you find this information useful!
The UK passport is an international travel document issued to the citizens of the United Kingdom, which can be used as proof of British citizenship whenever its holder needs to travel abroad or re-enter the British territory. Since 2006, all British Passports have been biometric and have had a validity of 10 years for an adult passport and 5 years for a child passport (under 16 years old).
After the country's exit from the European Union (EU) and after more than thirty years having the color "European burgundy", British passports will now return to their pre-EU color: 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 date of expiration, that is, there is no need for you to get a new one until it expires. Let’s find out what is the procedure to request this important document, both online and by post.
If you wish to apply for your first adult British passport, you will need to meet the following requirements:
There are two ways to apply:
Due to the current pandemic situation derived from the outbreak of COVID-19, the online service is the best and the fastest option to get your passport.
To apply online, you will be asked for the following:
Once you have prepared these requirements, you may begin your online application process through this link.
If you are applying by post, please consider that this procedure takes longer than the online service. You will need to cover the following requirements:
To post your application form and accompanying documentation, you may use the pre-printed envelope included with the form, or you can send them in through the Post Office if you chose to use the Passport Check and Send service.
Bear in mind that once your application has been received by the passport offices, you may be asked to attend an interview, either in person or online, with the purpose of confirming your identity.
The child passport applies for children under the age of 16 years old, and has a validity of 5 years only. This passport needs to be applied for by an adult with parental responsibility for the child in question. Both parents' details need to be provided when applying, or, if applicable, it needs to be stated that there is only one parent or tutor for the child.
Application procedure is the same as for applying to an adult passport, both in the online and the paper form modalities. Also, same as with the adult passport, 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. Application fees for a child passport are £49 if you’re applying online and £58.50 if you apply by post.
The application process for a UK passport can take up to 10 weeks, so there may be some scenarios where the applicant may need to get this document in an urgent mode. For example, if you need to get your passport within the next 3 weeks, then you have the option of paying for a faster service and booking a passport office appointment. On the other hand, if you need to travel urgently due to a close friend’s or a family member’s serious medical condition or death, then you need to contact the Passport Adviceline instead.
There are two application modalities for an urgent passport, and both of them will require that you book, pay and attend an appointment at the passport office nearest to your place of residence. You may follow this link to find your nearest passport office.
Your appointment will last 30 minutes max, and you’ll be able to get your passport right away. The cost for this service is £177 (or £187 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport), and it can only be used if you wish to renew an adult passport issued as from January 1, 2002.
To apply for the Online Premium service, you will only need your old passport and your digital photo. The latter can be taken using a smartphone or digital camera, and should follow some rules stated here.
If you are not able to attend your appointment, you can ask someone else to go in your place. In addition to the previous requirements, this person will need to bring a signed and dated letter where you authorise them to collect your passport, and they should also bring a valid ID, which can be a passport, driving licence, or a utility bill not older than 3 months.
You may apply with Online Premium here.
In this modality, you will receive your passport at your home within 1 week from your appointment, and the delivery will need to be signed for.
Using this service is only possible if:
The cost for this expedite service is £142 for an adult passport (or £152 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport), and £122 for a child passport (or £132 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport).
To apply for the 1 week Fast Track service, you will need to get a paper application form from a Post Office, and book and pay an appointment online. The day of your appointment you will need to provide 2 identical printed passport photos, your filled-in application form, and the accompanying supporting documents.
In case you are not able to go to your appointment, you can change your booking if it is more than 2 days away, or you can send someone to deliver the documentation in your place.
If your passport has expired or has less than 6 months of validity, or if your passport has been lost, stolen or damaged, then you will need to renew or replace your UK passport.
To carry out this procedure, you will need to cover the same requirements and steps as for the first passport application, except that in the case of a passport renewal, you will also be required to present your old passport. In case you have a valid visa attached to your old passport, your previous passport will be returned to you once the procedure has been completed, and you will be able to continue using your visa by carrying with you both passports.
The costs and processing times are also the same as for the online and paper form procedures that we explained for the first-time adult passport application.
Finally, if you want to track your passport application, no matter if it is a first-time application, renewal, reposition, or urgent service, you may follow this link and follow the instructions that correspond to the method you chose for your passport request.