Apply For A British Passport

by | Feb 22, 2021 | British Citizenship, UK Immigration

Applying for a British passport is the last step towards citizenship. There is a misconception that after a successful naturalisation or registration application, you will automatically receive a British passport. 

The United Kingdom allows for dual nationality, this means that you do not need to give up your previous nationality after UK naturalisation. 

The online UK passport application process is simple and it takes up to 3 weeks to get a passport if you apply online from within the UK. If you are applying outside the UK, the processing time will depend on the location you are applying from.

How to apply for a British Passport?

You can apply for your British passport by one of the following methods:

  • On the GOV.UK website – This is by far the easiest method of applying for a British passport. The online application will take you through the requirements step by step and also inform you what documents will be required.
  • By Post – you can obtain the official form from your local post office branch and send your application to the HM Passport Office, along with your supporting documents. Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), paper applications take longer to process, so it is a good idea to apply online if you can.
  • Post Office Check & Send Service – Your local Post Office will check if you have filled in the right sections of the paper form, check that you have the correct documents and photos and send your application to the HM Passport Office by special delivery.
  • By appointment. The 1-day Premium and 1-week Fast Track services are only available upon appointment. Due to coronavirus presently appointments are closed. For more information on how to urgently get a British passport, please visit the UK government website.  

The application procedure is different if you are applying from abroad and will depend on the location you are applying from. 

Do I need to attend a UK Passport interview?

If you are 16 or older, you may be asked to attend an interview at a passport office if you’ve never had a UK passport before, or your old passport expired a long time ago. The interview may last up to 30 minutes and you will be asked specific questions regarding your identity and maybe your countersignatory, ie the person that signs to verify your identity. 

What information do I need to provide for a British passport application?

If you are applying online of by post, it is vital that you provide the correct information and will include:

  • The name on your passport should match the name that appears on your documentation.
  • If you have changed your name, you must use your new name on your application.
  • You must list all your maiden or previous names.
  • You must enter details of any previous UK passport that you have held.
  • To apply for an adult passport, you must be aged 16 or over 

What documents do I need for a British passport application?

Photocopies of documents are not accepted, however, you can get an official copy of the evidence that you are not able to gather. If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you must also provide a certified translation. The following are some of the documents required to apply for your first British passport:

  • Your passport photo (a digital passport photo if you are applying online).
  • 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 naturalization or registration, if you were born abroad.
  • Your supporting documents.
  • Someone who can confirm your identity known as a countersignatory

Even if you are applying online, you will need to send your original documents to the HM Passport Office.

Do I need a countersignatory?

A counter-signatory is someone of your choice who can confirm your identity. Their role is to confirm that they have known you personally for at least two years and that, to the best of their knowledge, the information you have provided in your application is correct.

Your countersignatory must:

  • be 18 or older
  • and live in the UK
  • and have a current UK passport
  • Not be living at your address
  • Not be working for the Home Office
  • and work in or be retired from a recognised profession as per the list mentioned below

Examples of recognised professions include:

  • accountant
  • airline pilot
  • articled clerk of a limited company
  • assurance agent of a recognised company
  • bank or building society official
  • barrister
  • chairman or director of a limited company
  • chiropodist
  • commissioner for oaths
  • councillor – local or county
  • civil servant – permanent
  • dentist
  • director, manager or personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
  • engineer with professional qualifications
  • financial services intermediary, for example a stockbroker or insurance broker
  • fire service official
  • funeral director
  • insurance agent of a recognised company – full time
  • journalist
  • Justice of the Peace
  • legal secretary – fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs
  • licensee of a public house
  • local government officer
  • manager or personnel officer of a limited company
  • member, associate or fellow of a professional body
  • Member of Parliament
  • Merchant Navy Officer
  • minister of a recognised religion including Christian Science
  • nurse – registered
  • officer of the armed services
  • optician
  • paralegal – certified, qualified or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals
  • person with honours – OBE or MBE
  • pharmacist
  • photographer – professional
  • police officer
  • Post Office official
  • president or secretary of a recognised organisation
  • Salvation Army Officer
  • social worker
  • solicitor
  • surveyor
  • teacher or lecturer
  • trade union officer
  • travel agent – qualified
  • valuer or auctioneer – fellow or associate member of the incorporated society
  • Warrant Officer or Chief Petty Officer

What does the person confirming my identity need to do?

The person confirming your identity will receive an email from HM Passport Office. The email includes a link and a reference to sign in online. They will need to:

  1. Enter the reference from the email and the applicant’s date of birth
  2. Provide their UK passport details and current address
  3. Answer a few questions about how they know the applicant
  4. Confirm some of the applicant’s details
  5. Check a digital passport photo

How much is the cost of a British passport application?

The cost of your British passport will vary depending on the type of application you are making, and from where you are submitting your form. If you are applying from the UK, you will be charged as follows:

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

Will my supporting documents be returned?

All your documentation will be returned separately from your passport once your application is completed. If you wish, you can pay an additional charge for secure delivery, which will let you track your package. You will be responsible for providing a valid UK address where your documents and passport will be delivered.

Any personal information used or provided during your interview will be destroyed after your passport is issued.

For guidance and advice, please contact a member of our team on 02087575751 or via our online contact form.

Related links

Frequently asked questions

Do I qualify for a British passport?

You must have a naturalisation certificate or British nationality to apply for or hold a British passport.

How can a foreigner get a British passport?

To get a British passport you will have to apply for a certificate of naturalisation, to qualify you must:
Be a permanent resident meaning you have been granted indefinite leave to remain or settled status in the UK (you must have had this for at least 1 year);
Be over 18 years old;
Be of “good character” meaning you have not committed any serious crimes or immigration fraud;
Be presently living in the UK;
Lived in the UK for at least 5 years, without an absence longer than 450 days;
Travelled outside of the UK for no more than 90 days in the last year;
Meet the English language requirements;
Passed the “Life in the UK” test.

What documents do you need for a UK passport?

Your passport photo or a digital passport photo if you are applying online;
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 naturalization or registration, if you were born abroad;
Your supporting documents;
Someone who can confirm your identity known as a countersignatory.

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