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Obtaining a UK passport: requirements, costs, deadlines

Congratulations, you have become a British citizen! A Certificate of Naturalisation gives you the same rights as anyone who is British by descent. You now have one final step to take and receive the coveted document – a UK passport. In 2023, holders of these passports are allowed visa-free travel to 152 countries. The passport also confirms the status of a citizen and the right to live, study and work in the country. How to get a British passport? Let’s look at the details of this process.

Requirements for those wishing to obtain a UK passport

Anyone can become a British passport holder if they are a citizen of the United Kingdom by descent or naturalisation. The first option means that one or both of your parents are British citizens. Naturalisation is the process of a person who is originally of another nationality or a stateless person becoming a British citizen through a statutory procedure.

To avoid delays in processing your application, it is important to fill out the paperwork correctly. Be sure to pay attention to the items below:

  • You can apply for a British passport if you have UK citizenship. If the applicant is under 16 years of age, their parents/guardians will apply for a passport for them;

  • The name on the application must be the same as on the supporting documentation;

  • In the case of a legal name change, the new name shall be indicated on the application;

  • You must list every first and last name you have ever had;

  • Details of other passports, if any, should be given.

The passport is issued for 10 years.

Documents you need to provide to apply for a UK passport

Passport issuance implies submission of original documents only. Scanned copies are not accepted, but it is possible to request official copies of lost documents from the relevant institutions. The final set of documents varies from case to case, so it is very important to find out what information is required from you.

Basic documents to apply for a British passport:

  • Birth or adoption certificate (if born in the UK before 1983);

  • Evidence of your parents’ immigration status (if born in the UK after January 1983);

  • Your certificate of naturalisation or registration (if born abroad);

  • The passport you came to the UK with;

  • Supporting documentation (details of your parents, birth, marriage and immigration status certificates if not born in Britain etc).

Also needed:

  • A guarantor to verify your identity, in the case of a paper application. If you choose to apply online, you must provide the email address of the guarantor;

  • Two 45 by 35 millimetre photographs taken against a light-coloured background and without glasses.

All documents NOT in English or Welsh must be translated and certified.

The role of a guarantor when applying for a UK passport

Who is a guarantor and why do I need one? A guarantor is a person who can guarantee that you are you. He or she must have known you for at least two years and be able to testify that all the information in your documents is correct. The guarantor must sign your application and one of your two photographs.

Requirements for the guarantor:

  • If you are applying for a passport within the UK, your guarantor must be resident in the UK and hold a valid UK passport;

  • If applying from another country, the guarantor may hold a passport from the UK or Ireland, another EU or Commonwealth country, or the USA. In this case, he/she must provide a colour copy of his/her passport with a photo;

  • Must possess high professional characteristics and moral character;

  • Cannot be related to you by blood, marriage or personal relationship;

  • Can’t live at your address;

  • Shouldn’t be working for the UK Home Office;

  • If applying online, you will need to provide the email address of the guarantor.

The passport office may contact your guarantor to verify the details of your application. If the guarantor is out of contact (e.g. on holiday or public holidays), this may extend the processing time for your passport.

How do I apply?

You have collected a package of necessary documents. Now you need to decide how to submit your application. You can choose from the following options:

  • Online. The most accessible and inexpensive way. A virtual assistant will accompany you every step of the way as you fill out the form.

  • Passport Check and Send service (Passport Check and Send service). The post office will check the application pack and then send it to the passport office. This will reduce the likelihood that your application will be refused.

  • By post. You can send your application and documents to the Visa and Immigration Service.

  • At a specialist appointment when using the fast track passport in one day (premium) and one week. The appointment date is arranged in advance.

If you are applying from outside the UK, the passport application process will be different and depends on the laws of the country you are in.

How much does it cost to issue a passport?

The passport application fee depends on how you apply, the processing time and your age. Within the United Kingdom, the fee will be as follows:

OnlineIn paper form
For adult (16 years and over) standard 34-page passport£82.50£93
For adult (16 years and older) 50-page passport of a frequent traveller£93.50£104
For a child (under 16 years of age) a standard 34-page passport£53.50£64
For a child (under 16 years of age) 50-page frequent traveller passport£64.50£75
Passport for persons born before and including 2 September 1929It’s freeIt’s free

The cost will be different if you are applying for a passport from outside the UK or if you need to apply for a fast track passport. You will also have to pay an additional £16 if you want to use the Passport Check and Send service to check and send your application.

How do I pay for an application?

There are three ways to pay for your application:

  • Debit or credit card;

  • Cheque or postal order;

  • Cash.

In the table below we tell you which payment method will be suitable in this or that case.

Debit or credit cardPostal order or chequeCash
Application by postal verification and dispatch serviceYesPostal dispatch for Post Office Ltd

(cheques will not be accepted).

Paper applicationYes. A payment form must be filled out.Cheque or postal order for HM Passport Office.No
Online applicationYesNoNo

Timing of the document

When applying within the UK, the standard processing time for a passport is 3-6 weeks after the passport office receives your documents.

Didn’t receive your passport? Perhaps additional documents are needed or the passport office wants to interview you. You will be notified of this within 3 weeks.

You can also track where your application is by using its registration number. This can be done online or by calling the Passport Assistance Line number.

How do I apply for a child’s passport?

If the child is under 16 years of age, the passport application is made by the parent. You must be the parent/adopter and provide details of yourself and the other parent/adopter. If you are unable to provide these details, you will need to explain why (for example, because you are the only parent listed on the birth certificate). Children’s passports are issued for 5 years.

Why can you be refused a passport application?

It’s very frustrating to get the news that your application has been denied, but sometimes it happens. Here is a list of some of the reasons you may get a denial:

  • If you have provided false information;

  • If you are suspected of something that could be a reason to be stripped of your citizenship;

  • Incomplete completion of the application;

  • Mistakes in the application;

  • Lack of payment;

  • Suspicion that the applicant intends to use the passport for criminal or terrorist purposes.

To minimise the possibility of your passport application being refused as much as possible, be sure to do the following:

  • Provide all possible information about your identity and background;

  • Make sure your civil status meets the criteria for a passport;

  • Consider whether there are other reasons why you might be refused.


Obtaining a UK passport is a lengthy procedure and the requirements for the applicant may vary from case to case. It is very important to carefully collect the documents and fill in the forms. If you have difficulties or are not sure you can cope on your own, it is better to get advice from specialists. Refusal to issue a passport can lead to significant costs, because you will have to start the whole process all over again.

Frequently asked questions about obtaining a British passport

Will my original documents be returned to me?

Yes, your original documents sent with your passport application will be sent to you by standard post. If you want to ensure a more secure delivery, you can specify that they are sent by parcel post. There will then be an additional charge (around £5).

I have another citizenship. Do I need to provide a copy of the passport of a citizen of another country?

Yes, you will need to provide colour copies of all pages of your existing passports, including those that have expired.

What document can prove my identity?

A document issued by a government agency with your photo on it. For example, a valid passport of a citizen of another country or a national identification card.

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