How to apply for a passport

Written by timbrookes
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How to apply for a passport
The British government now accepts online applications for passports. (passport image by Gemma Williams from Fotolia.com)

Passports in the United Kingdom are issued by the Identity & Passport Service, and can take up to six weeks to arrive. First time applicants must be at least 16 and attend an interview. Passports must be renewed every 10 years, or when there is no space left for visa stamps.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Passport application form
  • Computer with Internet access (optional)
  • Supporting documents

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Instructions

    Applying Online

  1. 1

    Visit the Identity & Passport Service on-line application form at https://passports.ips.gov.uk/epa1r1a/index.aspx.>

  2. 2

    Click “Start application process” at the bottom right of the page. Confirm you agree with the information regarding charges and waiting time by clicking “Yes” in the first box and “No” in the second before proceeding by clicking “Next”.

  3. 3

    Click on the button next to the description of the type of passport you are applying for. Choose whether you were born in the UK, input your date of birth into the correct field and state whether you are a UK resident and if have been included on any passports in the past by clicking either the "Yes" or "No" buttons. Click “Next”

  4. 4

    Select any additional services you require by clicking the check boxes next to the descriptions. Choose whether you would like to include a braille sticker on the passport, request documents submitted to be returned by secure delivery or decide to opt for a 48 page passport. Click “Next” when this section is complete.

  5. 5

    Input your name, address and contact details into the required fields and click “Next”. On the next page enter your birth details into each field. Information required includes birth country, principality, town and gender. Click “Next” once you have completed this section.

  6. 6

    Confirm any previous passports you may have been included on, should you have chosen the option in step 2. Click “Next” once done and you will be taken to a page with a summary of the information you just entered. To confirm, click “Next” and then “Submit Application” on the following page.

  7. 7

    Sign the paper copy of the form the Identity & Passport send you when it arrives several weeks later. Send your national identification card or birth certificate, a recent valid counter-signed passport photograph and one of the following: your mother or father's birth, registration or naturalisation certificate or passport valid at the time of your birth, if you are applying for your first passport. Your documents must be originals, and not photocopies or scans.

    Send your your old passport or your last completed application form if you are renewing your passport.

    Send the standard fee application of £77.50 (as of June 2010) regardless of application type.

  8. 8

    Attend the verification interview if you are a first-time applicant, you will be contacted via phone in advance to arrange this. Allow several weeks for your passport to arrive by secure delivery.

    Applying via Post

  1. 1

    Acquire a copy of the standard passport application form. These are available from the Post Office and can be requested at Direct.gov.uk or by calling the Identity & Passport Services on 0300 222 0000.

  2. 2

    Complete the form in block capitals using black ink. Add your name, address, contact details, previous passport information and declaration fields. Include a valid passport photograph that is counter-signed on the rear if you are a first time applicant, along with a reference.

  3. 3

    Collate any supporting documents you will need. If you were born after 1983 remember to include your full birth certificate, as opposed to the short form.

  4. 4

    Send the application form to the Identity & Passport Services along with any supporting documents required for your application. Include the standard fee application fee at £77.50 which covers first time applications and renewals.

  5. 5

    Attend the verification interview if you are a first-time applicant, you will be contacted by the Identify & Passports Service beforehand to arrange this. Allow several weeks for your passport to arrive via secure delivery.

Tips and warnings

  • A valid counter-signatory must be over 18, have a full British or Irish passport and be willing to supply you with their passport number on the form. Counter-signatories must have a recognised profession or standing within the community.
  • The Post Office offers a “Check & Send” service which verifies all the information and documents you have provided. This is often a wise move, as if there is a problem with your application your fee will not be refunded.

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