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Applying for a British Passport

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 29 Nov 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]
@Blue unfortunately being undocumented im your case probably means that you are in the UK illegally. You may be able to apply for Leave to Remain in the UK based on over 20 years illegal stay and your connections to the UK. I suggest that you visit an immigration solicitor for further advice. It is also advisable to conclude this before you turn 65.
TJ. - 23-Nov-17 @ 8:27 AM
@Tallone the child you adopt will not be a British citizen once the adoption is complete and therefore will not be eligible for a British passport. This is because you and your spouse are currently not residents in the UK. You may be able to register the child as a British citizen if the child is adopted under South African law and either you or your spouse is a British citizen 'otherwise than by descent' meaning in most cases that either of you was born in the UK or is a naturalized British citizen. After registrationis complete you can apply for a British passport.
TJ. - 23-Nov-17 @ 7:57 AM
I am a 64 year old male who moved to the UK ftom Jamaica in 1954 at the age of 9 months. I have never left the Uk and do not hold any passport. UK or Jamaican. I have never had a problem wirh employment however my new workplace has requested a passport or naturalization paperwork. Archives before 1983 have not survived and no paperwork can be found. Please help. I am unsure what to do with my situation. Thankyou
Blue - 22-Nov-17 @ 9:55 AM
We are married and we both have british passports and south african passports (dual Nationalility).We have been living in south africa for 15 years and are about to adopt a south african child. We will be coming back to live in UK in next year or 2.How do we get a UK passport for our adopted child.
Tallone - 21-Nov-17 @ 2:14 PM
@DM since your partner is British born your child will be a British citizen regardless of where the child is born. You can apply for a British passport from NZ but this tends to take quite a bit of time. If you are in a rush to get back to the UK you can bring the child to the UK on an NZ passport and ensure he/she has a British passport ASAP.
TJ. - 18-Nov-17 @ 10:14 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?? Will our baby be eligible for a bristish passport as its father is British by birth and I have indefinite leave to remain. Also can we apply for the babies passport from New Zealand before we come back?? Thanks
DM - 15-Nov-17 @ 6:23 PM
@Erika if your child was born in the UK then he is a British citizen and can apply for a British passport anytime regardless of where he lives.
TJ. - 7-Nov-17 @ 5:09 AM
Hi, I gained permanent residency prior my child's birth. So he is entitle to British citizenship. I would like to apply for his first British passport. My only concern is if the application could be affected if he stayed abroad for a few months in a last year? Many thanks
Erika - 6-Nov-17 @ 3:22 PM
@Mich only British citizens can apply for a British passport. If your step children are under 18 and you legally adopt them under UK law they may be eligible for British citizenship.
TJ. - 27-Oct-17 @ 7:44 AM
Hi, can a step dad married for 4years and living together apply for British passport for his step children who are non EU citizen?
Mich - 27-Oct-17 @ 3:03 AM
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
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