Passports

Why do I need a passport?
A passport is a very important and valuable document. It proves who you are, what country you come from and contains emergency contact details in case you get into difficulties whilst out of the country.

When travelling abroad you must have your passport with you and take care to keep it safe.

You must have a valid, current passport when you travel outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

When can I apply for a passport?
You can apply for your full, adult 10-year British Passport when you are 16 years old or over. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you will need to get a professional to sign a section of the application form and you will be required to attend an interview.

Passport interviews are a new part of the application process to protect an individual’s identity. They are required by all customers, aged 16 or over, who are applying for a passport for the first time.

The interview process is important as it allows the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) to confirm the passport application belongs to you and that you are the rightful owner of that identity. The aim is to prevent fraudulent passport applications, which lead to 10,000 documents each year being sent to bogus claimants.

What is the interview process?
The interview process takes about 30 minutes. It will be conducted in a friendly manner and will consist mainly of asking applicants to confirm facts about yourself, which someone attempting to steal their identity may not know.

All personal information used in the interview is destroyed shortly after the passport is issued.

Where do I go to have an interview?
The IPS has set up a network of 68 interview offices across the UK specifically for first-time adult passport customers who are attending their passport interview.

If you are required to attend an office make sure you go to the correct office. Failure to do so could result in you missing your appointment and your application being delayed.

How can I track the progress of my application?
You can find out when to expect your passport by filling in the online form here. A representative will respond, with an answer, as quickly as possible.

Alternatively, you can call the 24-hour Passport Adviceline: 0300 222 0000

What if I’m under 15?
If you are 15 years old, or under, you will need to apply for a child’s passport and the forms will also have to be signed by a parent or carer.

To be accepted for a British passport you need to be one of the following:

  • A British citizen
  • A British Dependent Territories citizen
  • A British overseas citizen
  • A Britsh subject

Do I have to pay anything?
For 15 year olds and younger there is a charge of £46 for your full child’s passport. A full adult passport delivered by post over a 3 week standard service costs £72.

What else do I need to know?
The IPS can no longer provide a fast track service for first-time adult passport customers because they may need to have an identity interview.

Applicants are being advised to allow six weeks rather than the current three for their passports to be delivered. However, in genuine emergencies, limited validity passports can be issued without interview.

There are some important items of identification that you need to send in with your application form. Make sure that you read the form carefully so that you send the correct information to the IPS.

Having your passport pictures taken

You need two recent photographs; they should be identical shots of your head and shoulders taken within the last six months. The Passport Office need to see your face clearly and one of these photographs will appear in your passport.

There are special Photo Booths designed to take your photograph correctly for use in passport applications. You can find these booths in most Post Offices, bus and train stations and supermarkets.

  • Look straight at the camera, eyes open, mouth closed and hair pushed back
  • Don’t wear any hats, caps or scarves on your head unless it is worn for religious reasons – these must not hide your face
  • If you wear glasses, that’s fine, but sunglasses should not be worn
  • The headshot should be done against a pale background – cream or white

You’ll find the Photo Booths in many Post Offices and bus and train stations. All the instructions to take your photographs are on the outside of the booth.

The reverse of the photograph will need to be signed by someone who you have known for at least two years, confirming it is your photograph. Only certain people are allowed to do this, including:

  • A professional person, e.g.; Doctor, teacher, lawyer
  • An MP
  • A magistrate
  • A Minister of Religion
  • A local councillor
  • A bank officer
  • A civil servant
  • A police officer

Birth certificates
Your birth certificate is another very important piece of ID that is needed when applying for your passport. Your birth certificate is essential as it proves your name and nationality.

If you have ever changed your name you will also need to send the evidence of the name change, for example: a marriage certificate.

If you have become a British citizen by registration or naturalisation you must send in your Certificate of Registration or Naturalisation.

Remember – It’s essential that you send the originals of these documents. The passport office will not accept photocopies.

It is important to give yourself time to fill in your application and get all the right documents together.

Extra help with passport forms
The form does look complicated but don’t be worried or overwhelmed, there are plenty of people who can help you work through it.

Remember, you can always speak to an adviser and they will help guide you through the application process, as will the Passport Office which has their own advice line on 0300 222 0000. The Adviceline is open:
– 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday
– 9.00 am to 5.30 pm weekends and public holidays. 

Who can help?

To find out more about passport interviews and where your local interview office is visit http://maps.direct.gov.uk/LDGRedirect/MapAction.do?ref=passportinterviewoffices

To track the progress of your passport after an interview click here. Alternatively, you can call the Adviceline on 0300 222 0000

You will find lots of information, advice and an online application form on the Direct.gov website at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Passports/index.htm

Also the Passport Office has their own advice line on 0300 222 0000. The Adviceline is open:
– 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday
– 9.00 am to 5.30 pm weekends and public holidays. 

Your local post office – the UK passport office recommends making your contact through your nearest post office.

Ask your parents, carer or someone you trust to help you understand what sections you need to fill in on the form and what documents you will need to send as proof of identity.

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