How To Apply For A Passport

Travelling in and out of the UK requires a passport, so if you don’t have one and you are planning on going abroad then you will need to apply. It can take a while to process, unless you are willing to pay extra, so the sooner the better.

Who is eligible?

You can apply for a passport in in the UK if you are a:

  • British citizen
  • British overseas citizen
  • British overseas territories citizen
  • British subject
  • British national (overseas)
  • British protected person

You could also be eligible through your mother, partner or place of residence. At the moment, only those born on or after 1st January 1983 can automatically be British through their mother’s UK birth.

Women who are not British, but have married a British man after 1st January 1949, do not automatically gain British citizenship. If the marriage was before 1949 then the citizenship is automatic.

If you are not a British citizen and entered into a civil partnership with one, your nationality will not be changed under British law.

Foreign nationals or Commonwealth citizens do not automatically gain citizenship through living in the UK.

Eligibility can be complex, so if you are not sure and want some more information then visit the government website Direct.gov.uk for all the details.

How can I apply?

You can apply online for your passport at Direct.gov.uk and fill out the application form. The form has instructions and guidelines along the way, and upon completion it is sent to IPS (Identity and Passport Service). IPS will then print it out and send it back to you so you can check the details and sign for verification. The form you return must also include any supporting documents and your photographs.

Do not use this form if you live outside the UK or need the passport within four weeks, and do not use it for collective/group passports.

The alternative is to visit your Regional Post Office, and if you live abroad it will be done by a regional passport processing service in that country.

The Post Office service in the UK is known as Check and Send, and is usually faster than the online application. You will pay a charge for this service, but it includes form checking assistance.

How fast is the application process?

The online application can take four to six weeks, whilst the Post Office option can take around two weeks, sometimes a little more.

If you require a passport urgently you can pay extra for the fast-track service, and this is also done through your Regional Post Office.