Most of us will have suffered that horrendous scramble to renew our passports in time for our holiday in the sun. Particularly at this time of year, the Passport Office unsurprisingly sees a surge in applications. So preparation and organisation is key to ensure you have a stress free summer, and the process runs as smoothly as possible
Applying for a new passport
When applying for a passport renewal, it’s recommended to use their online application form. Filling out the online form is cheaper, and costs you £75.50. If you opt to complete a paper form, you’ll be charged £85. These applications both follow the same procedures and require the same documents to qualify.
The application process takes at least three weeks between you completing your forms and receiving your passport. But over these summer months, that’s likely to increase due to a higher volume of renewals. So it’s important you take this into consideration before booking any holidays. Especially over the coming school holidays.
You should take care when filling in these applications. Any errors in the form could result in a delay in your application, or in the worst case scenario losing your money if your application is unsuccessful.
How to get your child’s first passport
As well as adult passports, the Passport Office also issues passports for children. The requirements for a children’s passport is for the child to be under the age of 16 and be a British citizen. The application requirements state it needs to be filled out with parental responsibility of the child in question. Details of both parents will be needed when applying for the child’s passport. If information of a parent cannot be produced then the passport office will need to know why.
The cost of a child passport is £49 when applied online and £58.50 when the application is completed on paper. This process can take 3 weeks to complete. However, if the passport is needed urgently then the fast track option is available.
Those wishing to apply for a child’s passport will require two identical photos of the child. In addition, further documents are required, including:
- The child’s full birth or adoption certificate, this needs to include details of the parents
- Proof that your child is a British national. This includes anything from a British registration certificate, parent’s passport details or parent’s birth certificates
- Court orders that describe parental responsibility or residency arrangements
Only original documents or official copies are accepted.
How can I fast track my passport application?
In the event that you need a new passport quickly, there are a few different ways to fast track the process. The 1-week fast track service can be used for a number of different reasons. This includes; replacing a lost or stolen passport, renewing a passport that has expired or is about to expire, change details on your passport and also for your child’s first passport. This service costs £142 for an adult passport and £122 for a child.
To complete this you are required to complete the application forms that can be collected from your local post office. Followed then by booking an appointment at one of their offices that are located around the UK. Finally attending the appointment with the required documents stated on the application. These documents include;
- 2 identical printed passport photos
- your completed paper application form
- your supporting documents – read the booklet that comes with the paper form to find out what you need
If you’re unable to attend this appointment you can rearrange the date. This does require at least two days of notice to be accepted. This can be done by calling them the Passport Office customer service number or using the link in your confirmation email. Alternatively, you can get someone to go in your place regarding they bring the correct documentation. This, however, is only allowed if you’re not in the UK at the time of the appointment.
Further information and complaints
The Passport Office’s main headquarters are located in London. There are, however, several branches across the UK in Belfast, Durham, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newport and Peterborough. The customer services team will be more than happy to help. Their helpline is open between 8am and 8pm during the week and between 9.30am and 5.30pm at the weekend.
Complaints against the Passport Office should be made in writing, by email, or by phone. You’ll be required to give details, including the full details of the matter to be resolved, the name and address of the applicant, and the bar code of the application form. The Passport Office will contact you within 15 working days.