British passport applications

Anyone wishing to go on holiday abroad from the UK will need to hold a valid British passport. Nowadays, even children need there own passports, and so a family going away for the first time are faced with quite a considerable cost. This Prudent Minds guide will help you understand how applications are made and the costs involved.

All first time applicants have to have a face to face interview with the Identity and Passport Services (IPS) and so it can take time to get a new passport. Allow AT LEAST 6 weeks from the date of application, and apply for it further in advance if at all possible.

Who can apply for a British Passport?

If you are over 16, you can apply for a British passport if you are either a British Citizen, a British subject, a British National, a Protected person in Britain or a British overseas territories citizen. An adult passport normally lasts 10 years.

Anyone under 16 needs a child’s passport and this normally last for 5 years. They can be renewed at the end of the 5 years for a further 5 years and they are valid for the full 5 years; so a 14 year old with a new passport will not need to apply until they are 19, and then they will apply for an adult passport. Children in care need additional legal information before a passport can be issued and you will need to speak to the IPS.

Information needed to apply for a British passport

The passport office will need to see your original birth certificate. If your name has changed since birth, either by deed poll or marriage, or because of divorce or adoption, then you will need the original legal paperwork detailing the change.

It is possible to apply for a new passport 3 months before you get married, so that you travel on your honeymoon in your new married name, HOWEVER, the name on your tickets must be the same name as in your passport, so it may be better to wait until after you return to change your passport. Some countries won’t let you in if there is a difference between the ticket and the passport. You know you are married, the honeymoon travel agent knows you are married - is it really important that your passport is changed?

Passport applications must be countersigned by someone over 18 who holds a British or Irish passport and be willing to write their passport number in the appropriate place on the form. They must declare how long they have known you, and it must be for at least 2 years. They need to work in a profession (teacher, doctor, lawyer etc) or have good standing in the community (vicar, priest, local councillor etc).

You will need to enclose two passport sized photographs and one of them must be signed by the same person as above. Holiday photographs, mobile telephone photographs etc will not be accepted. Go to a proper photo booth and follow the instructions - they all have details as to how the picture must look to pass the IPS rules.

What to do once you have filled in the passport application form

The first, second and third job is to check it - you can’t check that its correct enough; even simple mistakes will see the application rejected and add weeks onto your application process. Once you are happy with it, make a note of the application bar code number.

You can then send the form, photos, fees and supporting documentation to the IPS or you can pay a little bit extra and take it for checking to the post office. The post office has a "Check and Send" service. They will make sure everything is correct and then forward the form on for you.

First British Passport application costs

The costs for a first British passport are:

By Post Post Office Check & Send
First Adult Passport £77.50 £84.35
Replace a lost or stolen Adult passport £77.50 £84.35
First Child Passport £49.00 £55.85
Replace a lost or stolen Child passport £49.00 £55.85
Renew or amend an Existing Adult Passport £77.50 £84.35
Renew or amend an Existing Child Passport £49.00 £55.85

If you were born on or before 2nd September 1929, you are entitled to a free passport.

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