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Applying for a British Passport

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 15 Oct 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]
Dodo - Your Question:
My partner visit visa expired couples years now and he stayed in Uk instead of going back. We been living together for 2 years and engage. I been in uk 6 years and I am british. I would like to say which application form should we applied for him to have right to stay in Uk? Please help.

Our Response:
In 2012, the UK Border Agency announced that it would no longer accept applications from overstayers where the period of overstay is over 28 days.
AboutImmigration - 16-Oct-17 @ 2:38 PM
Swagy - Your Question:
I am a British Citizen via British Overseas Territories. I am married to a Jamaican National, how can I go about applying for a Visa for him to stay and work with me.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:57 PM
@Rafi any EU citizen who has been living in the UK working/studying/self employed for at least 6 years can apply for naturalization as a British citizen. After becoming a British citizen you may proceed to apply for a British passport.
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:40 PM
@Molly only British citizens are entitled to apply for a British passport. This means that you will need to apply for naturalization as a British citizen first and this does include the "Life in the UK test"
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:36 PM
I am a British Citizen via British Overseas Territories. I am married to a Jamaican National, how can I go about applying for a Visa for him to stay and work with me.
Swagy - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:18 AM
My partner visit visa expired couples years now and he stayed in Uk instead of going back. We been living together for 2 years and engage. I been in uk 6 years and i am british.I would like to say which application form should we applied for him to have right to stay in Uk?. Please help.
Dodo - 14-Oct-17 @ 7:06 PM
I moved to the UK from Canada just after my 15th birthday, with my family, in 1970. They were both Canadian citizens.I have lived here now for almost 47 years.I was married in 1974, and that marriage lasted 22 years.I have now remarried and have been with my present husband for 13 years. I was educated here, and have leave to remain indefinitely stamped in my passport.I would like to apply for a British passport.Will I still need to do the Life in the UK test?
Molly - 10-Oct-17 @ 2:36 PM
Hi, I move to the UK 15 years ago from South America with a Italian Passport. I want to apply for a English Passport and I heard because I have been educated here and lived here for most of my life I would qualify for it. Is this right?
Rafi - 2-Oct-17 @ 9:12 AM
@Kiwi - if you are under 18, your dad should be able to apply for you to be a British citizen by descent. I am a British citizen by descent from Aus and my dad is a British citizen living in Aus.
Paulfp - 28-Sep-17 @ 12:58 PM
Hello, I am a New Zealand citizen born in NZ, my father born in Tanzania in 1954 then moved to the UK he has always had a British passport an kept valid. He was born a British subject and his first two passports say British subject, late on his passport nationality changes to British citizen. Am I able to get a British passport through dad?
Kiwi - 26-Sep-17 @ 4:27 PM
Anon - Your Question:
Hi there,My mother was born in the UK and I was able to get citizenship before my 18th birthday. I moved to the UK a year ago without my 14 year old son. I wanted to settle here before bringing him over. I am now looking at getting him a passport. I'd like to know the best channels to go through and the fastest, and dare I say cheapest, way of getting a passport for him. We were both born in South Africa. I have a both the British and South African passport, and my son has a South African passport. I'd prefer that this is not one of the questions that the public can read.Any help I'd appreciate as the UK.gov website really does confuse me.Thank you

Our Response:
If you are a British citizen by descent, then British citizenship cannot be passed to the next generation i.e your children, unless at the time your child was born you were permanently settled in the UK. You don't say who your child is currently in the care of. In order to bring your child into the UK, the sponsoring parent must be able to show that he/she has been solely responsible for exercising parental care over the child for a substantial period.  If the sponsoring parent and child are separated, the child will normally be expected to have been in the care of the sponsoring parent’s relatives rather than the relatives of the other parent. Therefore, you may wish to seek independent immigration advice regarding this matter before you apply, as there are a few tricky hurdles to overcome, please see link here. Please note, all our questions and answers are in the public domain. You are not required to give your name. I have changed your username for you.
AboutImmigration - 26-Sep-17 @ 11:58 AM
Hi there,My mother was born in the UK and I was able to get citizenship before my 18th birthday. I moved to the UK a year ago without my 14 year old son. I wanted to settle here before bringing him over. I am now looking at getting him a passport. I'd like to know the best channels to go through and the fastest, and dare I say cheapest, way of getting a passport for him. We were both born in South Africa. I have a both the British and South African passport, and my son has a South African passport. I'd prefer that this is not one of the questions that the public can read.Any help I'd appreciate as the UK.gov website really does confuse me.Thank you
Anon - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:28 PM
confused - Your Question:
Hi,my dad was born in the UK and lives in Australia now. I am 17years old.I was wondering that if I wanted to travel over seas in the future, do I need to apply for a British passport before I'm 18, or does it not matter anymore and will I still be able to get a British passport after I'm 18?

Our Response:
If you qualify, it is best for your father to apply on your behalf before you reach 18, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 21-Sep-17 @ 10:01 AM
Hi, my dad was born in the UK and lives in Australia now. I am 17years old. I was wondering that if I wanted to travel over seas in the future, do I need to apply for a British passport before I'm 18, or does it not matter anymore and will I still be able to get a British passport after I'm 18?
confused - 20-Sep-17 @ 1:22 AM
Hi - I was born in New Zealand and have a New Zealand passport but I have indefinite leave to remain in the UK since October 2014. My partner is british born and has a UK passport. Iam pregnant and hoping to go back to NZ to give birth but then return to the UK to continue living. Will my baby be able to come to the UK with me on a NZ passport or do we need to get him/her a UK passport at birth to ensure he/she can come into the country and live?? Thanks
DM - 19-Sep-17 @ 6:59 PM
nabahali - Your Question:
My son was born in Pakistan in Oct 2015. I am a Britain a British Citizen by birth (I was born in London in January 1983), but have not resided in the U.K. for over 15 years. I am a registered voter and have a National Insurance Number as well as a valid bank account. My queries are as follows:1) Is my son eligible for citizenship/passport?2) If yes, can I apply for his passport from within the U.K. even if I don't reside there?Thank you in advance for your guidance.

Our Response:
You may be able to apply for your child (under 18 years of age) to be registered as a British citizen, for example if you’re a British citizen but your child was born outside the UK, please see gov.uk link here .
AboutImmigration - 18-Sep-17 @ 10:11 AM
My son was born in Pakistan in Oct 2015. I am a Britain a British Citizen by birth (I was born in London in January 1983), but have not resided in the U.K. for over 15 years. I am a registered voter and have a National Insurance Number as well as a valid bank account. My queries are as follows: 1) Is my son eligible for citizenship/passport? 2) If yes, can I apply for his passport from within the U.K.even if I don't reside there? Thank you in advance for your guidance.
nabahali - 15-Sep-17 @ 7:15 AM
Anto91london - Your Question:
My mother born in UK and she has a English passport but live in Italy. I'm working in UK, can apply for British passport?

Our Response:
If you are over the age of 18, you would have to apply independently from your mother. EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least five years automatically have a permanent right to reside. This means that they have a right to live in the UK permanently, in accordance with EU law. There is no requirement to register for documentation to confirm this status. EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least six years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. Your eligibility requirements both as a EU national and having a British parent, can be found here .
AboutImmigration - 11-Sep-17 @ 1:52 PM
JayC - Your Question:
My oldest daughter Nicole was born in UK in 2007 and she lived here since than. We are both Polish living and working here for past 13 years We both got settled status but We never really had time or money to get naturalisation and apply for a British passports.Need to mention that on the day our daughter was born non of us have had settled status yet so she had no rights to get the British passport. However our other child which was born in 2012 has got British passport already.The question is what age Nicole could apply for a British passport and what this process looks like ?Thank youRegards Jay

Our Response:
You would have to check via the gov.uk link and guidance here.
AboutImmigration - 11-Sep-17 @ 1:37 PM
My mother born in UK and she has a English passport but live in Italy. I'm working in UK, can apply for British passport?
Anto91london - 10-Sep-17 @ 5:01 PM
My oldest daughter Nicole was born in UK in 2007 and she lived here since than .We are both Polish living and working here for past13 years We both got settled status but We never really had time or money to get naturalisation and apply for a British passports. Need to mention that on the day our daughter was born non of us have had settled status yet so she had no rights to get the British passport. However our other child which was born in 2012 has got British passport already. The question iswhat age Nicole could apply for a British passport and what this process looks like? Thank you Regards Jay
JayC - 10-Sep-17 @ 2:41 PM
Nicky - Your Question:
Hi, I am a New Zealand citizen and married a British citizen in 2002 and we have three children. He passed away 7 years ago, my boys are 16, 14 and 11. All of my deceased husbands family still reside in the UK. Are my NZ born children entilted to a British passport?? and what benefits would they have if they obtain one? and will it be a long, expensive, drawn out process obtaining them? Thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which will help answer your question. I cannot advise whether it would benefit your children in any way, each person's circumstances and views regarding this differ.
AboutImmigration - 24-Aug-17 @ 3:57 PM
Hi, I am a New Zealand citizen and married a British citizenin 2002 and we have three children.He passed away 7 years ago, my boys are 16, 14 and 11.All of my deceased husbands family still reside in the UK.Are my NZ born children entilted to a British passport??and what benefits would they have if they obtain one?and will it be a long, expensive, drawn out process obtaining them?Thanks
Nicky - 24-Aug-17 @ 5:51 AM
 I was born in London before 1983. Both my parents are late and were Nigerian citizens. My father however was a diplomat as at the time.  Besides birth, I had not visited the United Kingdom and would like to travel to my birthplace and spend sometime.  kindly guide me on the steps to take. BR, BO
bp - 13-Aug-17 @ 4:12 AM
My son was born in Poland and has lived there ever since. I'm a British citizen from birth and live here can I apply for him a passport with just a standard passport form he is under 16.
Liamsmith - 10-Aug-17 @ 12:33 AM
My mum gave birth to me in London in the year 1993. I have the British birth certificate but she wasn't able to register me as a british citizen. I now have a Ghanaian passport but living in Italy. Can I come to the U.K. to fight for my British passport?
Daxood - 8-Aug-17 @ 7:49 PM
I am a dual Kenyan/British Citizen and my child (8) is waiting for his British passport (application made). Can I travel with him while we are waiting and what does he get stamped in his Kenyan passport? I'm a single parent and we have the same surname.
LK - 3-Aug-17 @ 10:14 AM
What should we do? My partner was born and living here (30 years) but has a passport of his nationality. His mother has the rights to remain and work etc in the UK. Can he simply just apply for a British passport. Also am I eligible for a British passport. I was born outside of the EU to parents who eventually settled in the UK many moons ago. My parent also has an indefinite leave to remain and work etc. After my parents settled in this country they eventually sorted my papers to come join them, I too have an indefinite leave to remain. We also have a daughter born in this country will she be eligible? Doing the life in the UK test is a little silly for us seeing as we have done our schooling in this country. We are both passport holders of our mother land. Are we eligible for a British passport? Do we need naturalisation? etc... I'm so baffled. We don't want to apply for a British passport for it to be refused as it's non refundable.
Gia - 2-Aug-17 @ 11:08 PM
Jane - Your Question:
I married with an Englishman, now I with he lived in Australia for 6 years. He is Australia citizen and British citizen. so can I apply British passport ?

Our Response:
The fact you are married to a British citizen does not entitle you to British citizenship. You would have to be living in the UK with your husband for a minimum period of five years in order to be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 27-Jul-17 @ 3:40 PM
alia - Your Question:
My mum has lived over in the united kingdom for 27/28 years and is also married to a british citizen all my mothers children including me are also british citizen can my mum still apply for a british passport? she has an english qualification which she has received from her english classes

Our Response:
Your mum can see more via the gov.uk link here for further information.
AboutImmigration - 27-Jul-17 @ 2:03 PM
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