What You Need to Know About Applying For a Passport in the United Kingdom

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An up-to-date passport is a key to opening the doors of travel. The majority of countries around the world require a passport if you wish to enter the country, whether you are looking to go on a short holiday, study, or live abroad.

The process can seem a little daunting at first, as there is an application process as well as proof of citizenship required. Once you know how the process works and can gather all the right documentation, it can be quite simple! If you are moving to the United Kingdom (UK) from abroad, there may be some extra steps you have to go through, for example, live in the country for a minimum amount of time before applying for a new passport as a citizen. 

Whether you are new to travel and have never had a passport, or need to apply for a new one, and you live in the UK, this article will help you get started. 

How to apply 

The process is similar, whether you are applying for a British, Scottish or Irish passport. The only differences in the application process will be whether you are applying for a passport in the country that you are a citizen of or a new country. 

To get started with a passport application, you will need to visit the passport online service of your country to complete an online application, which is the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to get it done. Alternatively, you can print and post the form, or complete the form in a local post office. 

What you need 

When applying for a passport, whether it is brand new or a renewal, you will need to provide certain documentation to support your application. For a smooth application, make sure you have these documents ready to go with your application on the first submission. These are typically:  

  • 4 neutral photographs of yourself (no smiling and a clear view of your face that is not obstructed)

  • Evidence of your citizenship (the type of document will depend on what kind of citizenship you currently hold)

  • Official identification (with a photo) such as your driver’s licence or national ID card

  • Proof of address in the form of bank statements, utility bills or an official document 

  • An eligible witness who meets certain requirements to sign and date your documents and photographs

  • If you are under the age of 18, you will need signed consent from your parents/guardians. 

All documents must be accurate and the information on them must be clear. An original copy is always required, and a unique document must fulfil each requirement separately.

When do you need to apply?

If you are planning a trip, make sure you apply for your passport no less than six weeks before you intend to travel. This ensures you leave enough time for your application to go through, any queries are resolved and you receive your passport in time for your endeavours. The last thing you want is to book your travel and not be able to go!

The application process can be straightforward if you are prepared for it and have all the documentation ready. Your local post office or embassy will be able to help if you get stuck, or if you are moving from abroad, you may consider an immigration lawyer to help you with the process. 

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