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Applying for a British Passport

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 8 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Applying For A British Passport

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is the Home Office department which issues passports to British citizens in the UK. British citizens abroad who wish to apply for a passport should contact their local embassy or consulate or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Applying for an Adult UK Passport

Anyone applying for their first adult British passport is likely to have to attend an interview before their passport is issued and the whole process may take considerably longer than for a passport renewal. Applicants are advised not to make any firm travel arrangements before they receive their passport and to allow six weeks between the date of the application and the date on which they wish to travel.

Applicants who are renewing a passport or replacing an existing child’s passport with an adult one may make their application before the existing passport expires. Up to 9 months’ unexpired validity from the old passport may be credited to the new one.

UK Children’s Passports

The rules on children and passports have recently changed. Previously children could be included on a parent’s passport. However, now any child up to the age of 16 not already on a parent’s passport must have their own. A child passport usually lasts for five years and the holder may continue to use it after they have reached the age of 16 and until the passport expires.

The Application Form for UK Passports

The application form for UK passports can be collected from selected Post Offices or ordered online from the IPS website or via their telephone advice line. UK residents may also apply online through the website. However, forms cannot be downloaded because home printing equipment does not produce documents of a high enough resolution to be read by the IPS scanning equipment. In addition there would be a greater risk of fraudulent applications if the whole process could be carried out online.

The application form comes with detailed instructions which should be followed carefully. The form should be completed in black ballpoint pen. Any sections which are not relevant to the applicant should simply be left blank.

The application form will also have to be countersigned by a British or Irish passport holder over the age of 18 who has a recognised profession or is otherwise of good standing. This person must have known the applicant for at least two years but must not be related to them or live at the same address. This person will also have to sign the applicant’s photograph and confirm that it is a true likeness. The IPS website has a complete list of those who may countersign passport applications.

Passport Interviews

Almost all applicants aged 16 and over for a first British adult passport will now have to attend a passport interview. Interviews have been introduced to verify the identity of the applicant and to reduce the level of passport related fraud.

All applicants who have to attend a UK passport interview will be sent a letter, after their application form has been processed, asking them to contact the IPS to arrange an interview. Interviews take about 30 minutes and are held at one of 68 interview offices located around the UK. Applicants will be asked to verify personal information which would only be known by the individual applying for the UK passport.

Fees and Waiting Times

Some Post Offices offer a “Check & Send” service. For an additional fee they will go through passport applications, ensure all the necessary documents are included and send the application to the Identity and Passport Service. Applications for renewal passports sent in via this service should be processed within about two weeks. However, the waiting time for first passports is still about six weeks.

The fee for a first British adult passport is currently £72. The same fee applies to standard applications for renewals, amendments or replacements of existing passports. A fast track one-week service is also available for £97. A premium same-day service for renewals or amendments only is available for £114. The fast track and premium services are only available by appointment at a passport office counter and are not available to UK citizens applying for a first adult passport.

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[Add a Comment]
Hello, I carry both a German passport and USA passport. Will I have to give one of these passports up in order to apply for a British Passport? I have lived in the UK for 8 years with my English partner, we are not married. I tried to look for this info on your GOV website, but I've not been successful finding it. Thank you
Monika - 8-Jan-17 @ 6:23 PM
Hello i have being living in the uk for 12 years my daughter came to england at age 3 and she is 14 at the moment can i apply for a British passport ... her portuguese I.D card expired long time ago and seems i cant find a way to get an way to get through the portuguese council in london
Andreia Samuel - 30-Dec-16 @ 8:34 PM
Hey my daughters german passport is expired which we recently found out. Can I apply for her to get a British passport with her expired german one to avoid double costs as we meant to do it but now I don't know how as her passport is expired since over one year nearly two
Madi - 30-Dec-16 @ 9:29 AM
Hello I have been living in uk since 2012 and I'm 17 years old, I want to apply british passport so i would like to ask do i need to be in Uk for atleast 5 years to be eligible even though my guardian is british citizen.
aylinsuper - 24-Dec-16 @ 3:01 PM
Hi i am an indian woman and going to marry a British citizen. what i need to do so that i can move with him to uk
shreshtha - 23-Dec-16 @ 9:33 AM
Maribel - Your Question:
I am Spanish, married to British Born Citizen since 1989 and unfortunately a widow for the last 6 years. I have lived in UK for 19 yrs, since December 1997. As an EU passport holder (Spain), Would I qualify for a British passport without having to go through the nationalisation tests etc?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you what your options are. I hope this helps.
AboutImmigration - 5-Dec-16 @ 10:57 AM
I am Spanish, married to British Born Citizen since 1989 and unfortunately a widow for the last 6 years. I have lived in UK for 19 yrs, since December 1997. As an EU passport holder (Spain),Would I qualify for a British passport without having to go through the nationalisation tests etc?
Maribel - 4-Dec-16 @ 10:44 AM
i have a unmaried partner for 10 years now i have girl friend living together during any holiday out my country morocco and we do have alls papers about ours love relationship , but we not marrieddo i can apply for my scotish passport with unmarried partner i have many offers job there but i need to know what i can do .
joe - 21-Nov-16 @ 8:21 PM
Hey there, My family and I have a Portuguese passport and we have been living in the UK for the past 7 years, do we qualify for a British passport or so we need to apply for a document certifying permanent residence? Thank you, I would really appreciate it if you could answer this query as soon as possible Once again thank you.
Sivangui - 20-Nov-16 @ 1:47 PM
Hi I am swiss citizens I've been living in London almost 6 years, I have a daughter who she is British citizen is I got married to a British citizen in Oktober 2016, Switzerland is a EE country. Do I have the right to apply for British passport
Ildinha - 19-Nov-16 @ 8:10 PM
LizaF - Your Question:
I have been living in uk for 17yrs, since August 1999 as an EU passport holder(Portugal). Would I qualify for a British passport without having to go through the nationalisation tests etc?Regards,liza

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here for information.
AboutImmigration - 11-Nov-16 @ 1:39 PM
I have been living in uk for 17yrs, since August 1999 as an EU passport holder(Portugal). Would I qualify for a British passport without having to go through the nationalisation tests etc? Regards,liza
LizaF - 10-Nov-16 @ 5:55 PM
Hi, I have 2 questions that I need to ask. I want to apply for my first passport but I live in the Republic of Ireland. I am 31 weeks pregnant and don't want to be travelling too far so I was just wondering whether I would be able to attend an interview at the English embassy in Dublin or would I have to come back to the UK? Also, Ive only lived in Ireland for a year and don't know anyone all that well and was wondering if I apply online how does my counter signature get done? The people who can sign on behalf of me all live in the UK.... I'm stuck :o)
Abbi - 29-Oct-16 @ 4:24 PM
Do you recon I would be able to apply for a Birthish passport if I live here for 10 years and I am studying here? Currently I'm 17 so do I need to apply for a adult passport?
Ola - 26-Oct-16 @ 5:53 PM
Hi I've been in uk for 20 years came when I was 15, I studied and work and lived here ever since and have a permanent residency. My children were born here and both have British passport. I now would like to know how can I apply for a British passport myself and how much it would cost. Regards Nayra
Nayra32 - 20-Oct-16 @ 11:53 PM
My fiance is scottish we have been together for two years but getting married in november this month how long will it take me to get a british passport
Fedith - 3-Oct-16 @ 6:06 PM
I have recently returned to the UK with my wife who has an Italian passport. We have been married for thirty years and she wishes to become a British citizen. How do we do this without waiting too long. We are both over seventy.
lewis - 30-Sep-16 @ 4:21 PM
I have recently returned to the UK from South Africa. I have been married to my wife for thirty years. She has an Italian passport issued in South Africa and wishes to become a British citizen how do we do this?
LEWIS - 30-Sep-16 @ 4:16 PM
prangovac - Your Question:
Hi ,one question only. my wife have UK passport via father (those born there),I never be there ,. can I also apply and receive this UK passport also ,like her husband!? And what its procedure !?

Our Response:
You cannot apply for UK citizenship via your wife, as you are not the child of the UK citizen.
AboutImmigration - 30-Sep-16 @ 11:44 AM
Hi ,one question only ... my wife have UK passport via father (those born there),I never be there , ... can I also apply and receive this UK passport also ,like her husband!? And what its procedure !?
prangovac - 29-Sep-16 @ 3:23 PM
Im here since 2013 , my daughter is here since 2 years ago . Can my daughter apply to be a british citizenship ?
Dan - 24-Sep-16 @ 6:26 PM
i have married my slovak partner, she has been staying in uk for approx 10 years, and has a full slovak passport .... does she have to apply and pay full price to change to a uk one and what paperwork would she need
alastair2727 - 19-Sep-16 @ 1:28 PM
my friend was born in france but moved to uk with his mother when he was 12, he is now 65 years old and lived in uk ever since. he never had a passport only was on his mothers. after moving house few years ago lost his birth certificate. how would he go about getting a passport. many thanks
chris - 17-Sep-16 @ 8:45 PM
Hi, am with my fiancé is Portugues citizen,ive been living and work in UK since 2009 &my daughter born in UK! Can my daughter holds a British pasport? Thanks for advice.
Morenita - 16-Sep-16 @ 6:55 PM
Hello, I am peruvian, my fiancee is British. We are planning to get married by May, 2017. Do I need to apply for the fiance visa and then apply for the spouse visa? Or do I need to apply for the spouse visa? After I apply for the fiance or spouse visa and get married. Do I need to apply in the UK for leave to remain? How do I do it? Or what I do? Can I apply the required visas at the same time? The vision is to get married and get British citizenship.
PAPI - 11-Sep-16 @ 10:17 PM
Living in Ireland and applying for a first UK passport , do I need to attend interview in the UK or can it be done in Ireland Thank you
Mcclpb7 - 7-Sep-16 @ 1:27 PM
Hello I am in process of applying for Indefinite leave to remain. My family are in UAE where my husband who is British accepted and travelled for a job 2 months ago with our daughter. I assumed I would be able to travel after my ILR is granted but now I am not sure if the passport I get will be permissible for use in UAE. what can I do as I risk being separated from my husband and daughter for a year if I do not have a valid passport to present to UAE authorities? thanks
Jojo - 6-Sep-16 @ 11:41 AM
Speedy - Your Question:
My grandfather was born in the UK and then moved to South Africa. My dad was born in South Africa but has a birth passport. Do I qualify for a British passport because my dad has one?

Our Response:
You can check whether you are eligible here.
AboutImmigration - 5-Sep-16 @ 2:09 PM
My grandfather was born in the UK and then moved to South Africa. My dad was born in South Africa but has a birth passport. Do I qualify for a British passport because my dad has one?
Speedy - 4-Sep-16 @ 9:24 PM
My daughter is sixteen, born and raise in Uk. We are europeans and living since 1994. Resident permanent papers since from 2005. Is my daugther able to apply for english passport as an adult straight away? Thank you
Rebe - 31-Aug-16 @ 4:39 AM
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