What are common reasons that passports are denied?

Written by anthony grahame
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What are common reasons that passports are denied?
Passport applications are denied for a number of reasons. (miketea/iStock/Getty Images)

Applying for a passport is generally a straightforward process. However, a passport application can be denied for a number of reasons. Avoiding these common oversights will help you avoid a costly passport denial. All application fees are non-refundable, so take the time to get things right on the first attempt.

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Incomplete documentation

The most common reason why a passport application can be denied involves applicants not submitting the required materials. Commonly required materials include an official copy of your birth certificate, proper photos, the correct fee and, if applicable, a previously issued passport.

Incorrect or fabricated information

An application will be denied if the form contains incorrect information. Make sure that you read the application form carefully, and take note of all available guidelines. Careless mistakes will result in a rejection and you will have to reapply. Deliberate falsification of information is a much more serious issue, and may amount to fraud.

Illegible information

A passport will be denied if the details entered on the application form are illegible. Take your time when filling out the form. Write clearly, and always use the type of pen specified on the form. If you need to submit photocopies of any particular documents, make sure that the copies are of a high standard.

Arrest warrants

The passport application process includes a background check of all applicants. If the screening process detects any outstanding criminal warrants, the application will be denied. Parking tickets and traffic violations are not normally cause for denial.

Criminal record, parole and court orders

A passport may not be issued to an individual who is convicted of certain serious offences. The period of ineligibility depends upon the length of imprisonment and any parole orders that may have been applied. Your application will also be denied if you're subject to a child custody or other court order preventing you from holding a passport.


Her Majesty's Passport Office sets strict requirements for passport photos. Photos must be colour on plain white photographic paper, taken against a cream or light grey plain background, taken within the previous four weeks, clear with no tears or creases and not manipulated by computer software. Breaching any of these requirements can lead to a passport denial.

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