Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

How to Apply for a British Passport: Step-by-Step Application Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on applying for your first British passport from within the UK. Acquiring British citizenship marks a significant milestone, but obtaining your passport solidifies your status as a citizen of the United Kingdom. In this article we’ll walk you through each essential step of the British passport application process, from understanding eligibility criteria to gathering required documents, confirming your identity, and managing processing times and fees, we’ll ensure that you have all the necessary information to navigate the British passport application process with confidence. 

We have discussed in our previous post here the steps after the British Citizenship application has been granted. There are different ways to acquire British Citizenship and these can be by Naturalisation, Registration or Automatic Acquisition

Who is Eligible for a British Passport?

Before you can apply for a British passport, you must have British nationality. The Home Office lists the types of British nationality as:

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

You must be aged 16 or over (or will be 16 in 3 weeks) and never have had a UK passport before.  

We have previously provided an Update on British Citizenship for Children of EEA Nationals and also looked at How to Register for British Citizenship With Another British Nationality

Will My British Passport Application be Refused?

If you meet the eligibility requirements for a British passports, you will be eligible to apply for a British passport. However, there may be circumstances where your application could be refused or your existing passport could be retained.

The Home Office sets out some examples of when an application for a British passport may be refused on their website here: 

  • you’re suspected of a serious crime and an arrest warrant has been issued
  • a court order stops you having a UK passport or restricts your travel
  • you’re on bail and bail conditions mean you cannot leave the UK
  • you’ve been brought back to the UK before at the government’s expense and have not repaid what you owe
  • you’ve received a European Union or United Nations order which restricts your travel

It is therefore important to check your eligibility and the relevant information required prior to applying for a British passport.

Ways to Apply for a British Passport

There are different ways to apply for a British passport from within the UK. You can select to use an online application form, use a paper application form and send your passport application by post or attend at your local post office to use their Check and Send Service. 

There is a different procedure if you are applying for a British passport from overseas. 

Additional Information When Applying for a British Passport

Depending on your circumstances (such as when and where you were born), you may be asked to provide the details of your parents, for example, their immigration status. If you were born outside the UK and have naturalised or registered as a British citizen, you will be asked to include your Certificate of Naturalisation or Registration as well as your passport used to come to the UK. 

You must send original documents as photocopies will not be accepted. Any documents not in English will need to be accompanied by a certified translation.

Confirming your identity

For a first British passport, you will need a countersignatory or someone who can confirm your identity. This person must have known you for at least 2 years and be able to confirm your identity. They must be over 18 years of age and be a professional person. They must also live in the UK and hold a current UK passport. They must not be related to you by birth or marriage, work for HM Passport Office or UKVI, live at your address or in a personal relationship with you. The Home Office has published a list of accepted occupations for countersignatories here.

Dual citizenship

If you hold a passport from another country, the name and gender must match the name and gender you want on your British passport. If it is different, you must change the details on your non-British passport before you apply for your British passport.


When applying online, you can provide digital photographs and the person who will be confirming your identity will receive an email from HM Passport Office to confirm your identity online. 

For paper applications, you will need to provide 2 identical printed passport photos and one of the photographs will need to be certified by the countersignatory.

Additional documents

If you have changed your name by marriage or civil partnership, you will also need to provide your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate. 

Processing Times for a British Passport

The Home Office published processing time for a British passport application submitted from within the UK is 3 weeks from the date the application documents are received. It may take longer if more information is needed. If you are over 16 years old or likely to become 16 before the passport can be issued, an interview is expected so that your identity can be confirmed. An adult British passport will be valid for 10 years. 

If you need to obtain a passport urgently, you can select: 

  • 1 day premium service at an additional cost of £207.50. The earliest appointment is 2 days after you apply, depending on availability. This service is only available for renewal of an adult British passport; 
  • 1 week fast track where the passport will be delivered to you by courier 1 week after your appointment. The earliest an appointment may be available is the next day after you apply. This service is available for renewing a passport, changing personal details, replacing a lost, stolen or damaged passport as well as getting a child passport. The fee is £166.50 for an adult passport and £135.50 for a child passport.

British Passport Application Fees

The application fee for an adult standard 34 page passport is £88.50 for an online application and £100 for a paper application. If you decide to use the Post Office Check and Send Service, there is an additional fee for this service.

If you select an online application, only a debit or credit card will be accepted. If you wish to use other payment methods, you can select to apply by post or use the Post Office Passport Check and Send service. 

First British Passport Application for a Child

When applying for a passport for a child, you will need to provide the details of both parents. The adult must have parental responsibility for the child to apply for the passport. If you are unable to provide the other parent’s details, you will need to explain why. 

If your child is over 16 or will be 16 in 3 weeks and has never had a British passport, your child should apply for a first adult British passport. 

For a child passport, the application fee is £57.50 for an online application and £69 for a paper application. A child passport will be valid for 5 years.

If there is a court order or parental responsibility order in place, these must be included in the application. 

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice regarding British nationality or assistance with making a British passport application, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

    Attach a file if it supports your enquiry. Only .doc or .pdf files.


    Expert advice & representation from immigration barristers that you can rely on.

    Google+ - Five Stars

    Read the 600+ five out of five star Google reviews of our immigration barristers.