Immigration Corner: How do I replace my passport in the UK?
Dear Mr Bassie,
I am a British citizen and I plan to visit the United Kingdom shortly. I would like for you to advise me on how I can renew or replace my passport while I am over there visiting.
A person can renew or replace his/her passport at any time in the United Kingdom. It costs £72.50 to renew a standard 32-page passport, or £82.25 to renew a jumbo 48-page passport through the post office's Passport Check and Send service. The time left on an existing passport is added to the new one, up to a maximum of nine months.
Generally speaking, it should take three weeks to get the passport unless a faster service is used such as premium service or fast track service, if the passport is needed urgently. Please be aware that it can take longer if more information is needed or if the application has not been filled out correctly. It is not advisable to confirm a reservation for travel if not in possession of a valid passport, as doing so is at that person's own risk.
A person must replace his/her passport as soon as possible if it has more than reasonable wear and tear. In fact, a person may not be allowed to travel with it if it is in such disrepair. Also, a person must renew his/her expired passport before he/she can travel. If a person is replacing a lost or stolen passport, that person may have to attend an interview and the application may take longer.
There are several ways that a person can make an application for a passport from within the United Kingdom. He/she can apply online; request an application form online; get an application from a post office that offers the Passport Check and Send service; or ask the passport 'Adviceline' to post one to the applicant. However, it is important that the applicant read the guidance on applying for a passport and note that there are different ways to apply if a person is outside of the United Kingdom.
The applicant should include two identical new photos and be aware that the application can be delayed if the applicant does not follow the rules about passport photos. The application form and one of the photos will also need to be countersigned by someone else to prove the identity if either the applicant cannot be recognised from the photo in the existing passport or if the applicant is replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged passport.
It is also advisable that if a person is renewing his/her passport, then he/she should send his/her previous passport with any visa(s) attached to it with the application. Please note that the previous passport will be returned to the applicant.
If the applicant has changed his name, for example through marriage, changed the spelling or added a middle name, then he/she must send extra documents with your application to substantiate such changes.
online application facility
When utilising the online application facility, a person may post the application, photos and supporting documents to the address printed on the form. Also, if utilising the paper applications facility the applicant can post the application using the pre-printed envelope that comes with the form, and should include his/her photos and supporting documents. The applicant may also use the Passport Check and Send service but this cannot be used if the application is made online.
When making payment the applicant will need a credit or debit card to apply online. If the application is made by post, that person can either pay by debit or credit card by filling in the form in the application pack; or by cheque, that is made payable to 'Her Majesty's Passport Office'. Having made the application and payment a person can login and track his/her passport application straight away if he/she applies online. The applicant can start tracking his/her passport application in three weeks if the application is made by post.
A person's new passport will be sent by courier or Royal Mail Recorded Delivery. The postman or courier will then do one of the following: he/she will hand the passport to the applicant if he/she is at home; deliver the passport with the rest of that person's mail; or leave the applicant a card or send a letter to tell him/her where to collect the passport or how to arrange re-delivery. Please note that the 'missed delivery' card or letter will not say that the package contains the passport.
- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.