Renewal of United Kingdom passports can be done in Australia, however the British High Commission in Canberra does not have passport services. Instead, applications are reviewed and then forwarded to the Regional Passport Processing Center in Wellington, New Zealand. Familiarise yourself with the documentary requirements, as these can vary considerably depending on the nature of your eligibility for a British passport, date of birth and other circumstances.
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Things you need
- Old passport
- Passport application fee sheet
- Proof of British citizenship
- Passport photos
Obtain a passport application form and the current fees sheet. Use Form C2, Application for a United Kingdom Passport, if you are at least 16 years of age. Use Form C2 if you are younger. Download the latest edition of the form from the British High Commission in New Zealand website (see Resources). Review the notes and instructions pertinent to the form you will be using.
Gather the supporting documents pertinent to your situation. You will be required to submit evidence with the form depending on how and when you acquired British citizenship. For example, if you became a British citizen through naturalisation, produce your naturalisation certificate. Photocopies are not acceptable.
Prepare two identical coloured photos of yourself that meet official British passport photo standards. Photos must be 45 by 35mm in size, with a light grey or cream background, and no more than a month old. When having your picture taken, face the camera directly. Keep your mouth closed and do not show emotion. Refer to the official photo guide in the Directgov website for complete requirements (see Resources).
Find a countersignatory. A countersignatory is a witness who can confirm your identity and back the details you provide in the UK passport application form. To qualify as countersignatory, the witness must have known you for at least two years, and preferably be a British citizen/national or Commonwealth citizen who holds a respectable position in society, such as a lawyer, a doctor, a judge, a bank officer and so on. The countersignatory cannot be related to you.
Fill out the application form. Check the box beside letter "B" to indicate that you are applying for a renewal of your UK passport. Make sure you fully explain the circumstances that make you a British citizen. Enter a delivery address within Australia. Refer to the form instructions to guide you through each item.
Have your countersignatory complete Section 9 of the form and write on the back of one of the photos. He or she must certify that you are the person who appears in the picture, and that the facts stated in your application are true. The countersignatory must disclose his or her name, country of citizenship, professional title, full address, contact information and length of time you have known each other.
Assemble your UK passport renewal application. Attach your current passport, photos and supporting documents to the form. Place them all in one folder or large envelope.
Bring all your documents to an Australia Post Outlet. Present your application for review and pay the fee. If everything is in order, the Post will turn over your paperwork to the processing centre at the British High Commission, New Zealand.
Tips and warnings
- Australia Post advises passport applicants to set an appointment with their office for convenience.
- You can apply for a renewal of your UK passport up to nine months before the expiry date without losing any validity period. In other words, the remaining time on your current passport–say, eight months–will be added to the term of the new passport. However nine months is the maximum that can be added, so if you apply 10 or more months in advance, only nine months can be added.
- Just because the Australia Post Outlet forwards your application to the British High Commission in New Zealand does not mean your documents are adequate. You may still be asked for further evidence.
- File your application for renewal at least four weeks prior to your planned trip. Processing usually takes four to six weeks.
- The older black/blue UK passports cannot be renewed. You must apply for a new passport.
- Do not use an address outside of Australia for a delivery address. Passports cannot be sent outside of the country where you have applied.
- Australian visas are not automatically transferred from your old passport to the new one. Contact the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship for help on replacing your visa.
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