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British passport application explained

A British passport application is a key travel document that can prove status as a UK national. Once you become a British passport holder you are allowed to enter and leave the UK without being subject to immigration rules.

An application for an adult British passport or a child passport requires a wide range of documentation and can be complicated to fill in so it may be worth getting suitable advice to avoid any delays or a possible refusal.

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    How do I apply for a British passport?

    There are several ways to apply for a passport if you are living in the UK at the time of applying:

    Online – you can apply online for a British passport and this is the most straightforward application process and also has the lowest cost. This is a good option if you are confident using internet forms.

    The Post Office – the Check and Send Service offered by your local Post Office charges an additional fee for the Post Office check of your documents accompanying your application before they send them to the HM Passport Office directly.

    By mail – it is possible to apply by post and send your application paper form plus supporting documents directly to UKVI.

    In person – you can make an appointment at a Passport Office for a 1-day Premium or a 1-week Fast Track service. There is a significant charge for applying for a British passport and you must make an appointment. This face-to-face service is only available in larger cities, including London.

    If you making a British Passport application while overseas then the process will be different. Therefore, you must check the local process for make passport applications.

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    What documents do I need to give to the Passport Office?

    Many applications for a new passport or British citizenship are rejected by the passport service because the wrong documents are included with passport application forms.

    It is important to ensure when applying for a first British passport that you have all the required information ready to send off otherwise it may lead to delays. The HM passport office requires you to submit original documents – not photocopies.

    There are a number of documents that must be included when applying for a British passport that are used to prove your identity and eligibility :-

    • If you were born in the UK before the start of 1983 then you need to provide your birth or adoption certificate
    • Evidence of one of your parents’ immigration status (if you were born in the UK after January 1983)
    • Your certificate or naturalisation or registration, if you were born abroad
    • Your supporting documents
    • Someone who can confirm your identity (if you are applying with a paper form)

    Do I need a counter-signatory to apply for my first British passport?

    When applying for your new passport you do not need a counter-signatory if you are applying for a passport online or from abroad.

    However, if you are applying using a paper British passport application then you need to have a signature from someone who has known you for at least two years and can confirm your identity.

    The British Passport Office requires that the person who you chose to confirm your identity must be:

    • Be a UK or Irish citizen who currently lives in the UK
    • Be a professional person or be recognised as ‘a person of good standing in their community’
    • Have no relation to you by birth or marriage or be in a personal relationship with you
    • Not live at the same address as you
    • Must not be employed by the Home Office

    Completing your British passport application form

    To avoid any delay in your application, it is essential to fill in each part of your form correctly. Before submitting your documents, you should keep in mind the following:

    • The name on your passport should be the same name that appears on your accompanying paperwork.
    • If you have changed your name, you must use your most recent name on your passport application.
    • You must list all your maiden or previous names on the form.
    • You must enter details of any previous UK passport that you have held as part of the application process.
    • To apply for an adult passport, you must be aged 16 or over (or will be in three weeks from the date of your request).
    • An adult passport is valid for a total of 10 years.
    • If you hold a child passport, you can use it until it expires even if you are over 18.
    British passport application

    How much does a UK passport cost?

    The fee for applying for a British passport will depend on what service you are using, whether you apply online and where you are applying from.

    For those applying for British passports in the UK then the charges are:

    • Online applications: £75.50
    • Paper applications: £85

     

    How do I apply for a child's British passport? 

    Any child up to the age of 16 not already on a parent’s passport must hold their own passport. 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 person with parental responsibility for the child must apply for the passport and you must be able to prove your child is entitled to British nationality – this is usually because one of the parents has Indefinite Leave to Remain status or is a British citizen.

    Do I need to be a British citizen to complete a British passport application?

    You must hold British citizenship in order to make a successful British passport application. There are a number of ways to gain naturalisation status and be given British nationality.

    In order to make an application for British citizenship you need to have met the following UK immigration rules:-

    • Been resident in the UK for 6 or more years
    • Meet the residence requirements, including a valid explanation of any absences from the UK.
    • During your time in the country, you must have been working, self-employed, or studying on a student visa.
    • A Life in the UK Test pass and valid English Language Test or evidence of appropriate language skills.
    • Meet the good standing character requirement for British citizenship. This means having no series criminal convictions or been declared bankrupt.

    However, being a British citizen does not mean you will be automatically be issued a first British passport. A British passport can also be cancelled or withdrawn by the government at any time.

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              Frequently Asked Questions

              London Immigration Lawyers can help you through each stage of your application for a UK passport.

              This can include checking your documents, helping you to complete the British passport application form to the required standard and liaising with the Home Office.

              An application for a first adult British passport can take around 10 weeks to be processed

              It is important not to book any travel until after you have received your British passport.

              A British passport application can be made online, at a Post Office, via the post or in-person by appointment.

              You make be required to attend a interview as part of your passport application. The interview will take around 30 minutes and will take place at your local HM Office.

              A British passport is valid for 10 years if it was issued when you were 16 years or older. A child’s passport is valid for 5 years.

              There are a number of documents that must be included when applying for a British passport depending on your current immigration status.

              You will need to provide the following depending on your circumstances:

              • If you were born in the UK before the start of 1983 then you need to provide your birth or adoption certificate
              • Evidence of one of your parents’ immigration status (if you were born in the UK after January 1983)
              • Your certificate or naturalisation or registration, if you were born abroad
              • Your supporting documents
              • Someone who can confirm your identity (if you are applying with a paper form)

              The person with parental responsibility for the child must apply for the British passport and you must be able to prove your child is entitled to British nationality. You will need to provide documents to prove this.

              Any child up to the age of 16 not already on a parent’s passport must hold their own passport.

              To apply for British passport you must have British citizenship – you can not apply for a passport if you do not already have this.

              You will need to submit evidence of your nationality, as well as other supporting documents. There is also a fee to pay when applying for a passport.

              If you are applying for your first British passport, you may be required to attend an face-to-face interview and answers questions about your background.