A passport provides you with an opportunity to explore the world, and you really cannot get too far from the UK without one or with an expired one.

As a UK citizen, you can pick up a passport application form at your local post office and apply either through the post or online. [1]

Please note that it will take longer to apply for a new passport through the post than online.

If you need an apostille or have your UK passport legalised in the UK, please visit our ‘How to get an apostille for a UK passport‘ page for more information.

Update 01/06/2022:

The Home Office – Passport Office is struggling to meet the demand for passport applications. Processing times can take several months. The dealy is blamed on the COVID backlog. Make sure you allow plenty of time to get a new, replacement or renewal passport.[2]

How quickly are passports processed in the UK?

Heeding the advice about the delay currently experienced, here are the usual processing times. Please note, that these are ‘averages’ and exact time scales will depend on your circumstance, ordering online or via postal service.

Adult Child
First passport Six weeks Five weeks
Passport renewal Five weeks Five weeks
Damaged passport Five weeks Five weeks
Lost or stolen passport Five weeks Five weeks
Post Office application Five weeks Five weeks
Changing details Five weeks Five weeks
Urgent Passport (online, premium) Up to two days from the day of the application Up to two days from the day of the application
Urgent Passport (One-week fast track) One week One week
Overseas applications (Enquire) (Enquire)
Adult & Child
First passport
Six weeks
Five weeks for a child
Passport renewal
Five weeks
Damaged passport
Five weeks
Lost or stolen passport
Five weeks
Post Office application
Five weeks
Changing details
Five weeks
Urgent Passport
(online, premium)
up to two days
Urgent Passport
(One-week fast track)
One week
Overseas applications
(Enquire)
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Here’s the list of all the documents you will need to apply for a NEW UK passport

All documents required to apply for a new passport must be originals only, not photocopies.

Renewal requirements for UK passport holders

If you already have a British Passport, getting it renewed is pretty easy and straightforward compared to applying for a new one for the first time.

There are two main ways of renewing your UK passport:

  1. Online passport renewal

In this case, you will need the following documents:

  • A digital photo
  • Your old passport
  • A debit/credit card.

The cost of renewal is £75.50.

Apply for a renewal passport, visit the official website [7].

  1. Renewing through post

If you wish to stick to the old-fashioned way of renewing passports, which is the use of paper application forms, you will have to go to the Post office and use their check and send service. [8]

You have to fill out the card details on the form and then send a cheque with two printed passport photos.

It will cost £85 to renew.

Emergency passport – what documents you need

An emergency passport is also known as “an emergency travel document”. You can apply for this type of passport if you cannot get a new passport in time for your travels.

Most UK nationals stranded outside the UK and have lost their passports or had their passports stolen will apply for an emergency passport.

The passport takes just a few weeks to be ready, and you will need the following documents:

  • Proof of your travel plans, such as booking confirmations
  • A detailed description of where you wish to travel and when
  • Any other documents that are required for your current location and country

If you are stranded in a different country and do not have your passport, please visit the British Embassy or consulate.

An emergency passport can also be applied by people in the UK who need to get a proper passport urgently. This is separate from needing an emergency travel document.

Documents needed to change your name on your passport

There are many reasons why you would wish to change your name on your passport. This could be marriage, change of appearance, gender reassignment, etc.

However, the most common reason is marriage, and you will need to send your civil or marriage certificate with your application for a new change of name passport.

Read our dedicated article about ‘Documents required for overseas marriage and civil partnerships‘.

Here’s a look at the document requirements for different reasons for a name change:

Marriage

You can get a new passport before or after the marriage ceremony.

  • If you wish to get a new passport after the ceremony, you need to send your civil/marriage partnership certificate when applying for a passport in the new name.
  • If you wish to apply for a new passport before the ceremony, you can apply for one up to three months before the civil partnership or marriage ceremony.

The old passport, in this case, will be cancelled, and a new ‘post-dated’ one will be issued before the ceremony. [9]

After getting divorced

After a divorce, you will need multiple documents for a name change on your passport, which include the following:

  • A decree absolute
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate showing both old and new names
  • The official document that shows you are using your new name
  • An official statement that shows you are returning to your previous name signed by you

After changing your gender

If you have changed your gender, you can change the name on your passport. You will, however, need to provide the following documents:

  • Your gender recognition certificate
  • A doctor’s letter that confirms the change is likely to be permanent
  • Your new adoption or birth certificate clearly showing your new gender

Please note: When sending your doctor’s letter, or a letter from your medical consultant, for a name change, you should also send a deed poll as evidence that you are using the new name documents.

When you need to change the spelling or a letter or when you need to add a title to your name

Receiving a knighthood will require you to change your name. You may also need to change the spelling, for example, from Bryan to Brian. These are situations that would require you to change your passport.

You will be required to provide the following documents:

  • Your driving licence that shows your new name
  • Your bank statement showing the new name
  • A government/council letter
  • Your baptism and/or confirmation certificate

Other reasons for a change of name

If you changed your name for any other reason, then you would need to provide a statutory declaration, affidavit or deed poll.

You will also be required to send proof that you are now using the new name, e.g., a payslip.

Yes. Passport applications require only original documents. If you do not send original documents, you will delay the process.

The documents are sent back to you separately from your passport. If they do not arrive back after a few weeks, you may be required to chase them up.

Yes. A notary can be used to help with the documents needed. But, please note that only a few documents would need a notary public such as a deed poll, an affidavit and a statutory declaration.

No. All passport applications require the ‘full’ birth certificate. If you use the short version from the registrar, your application will not be accepted.

This article has been written by experts and fact-checked by experts. We only link to high-quality sources like government information & data, original reporting and interviews with industry experts. Reputable publishers are also sourced and cited where appropriate to support the facts within our articles.

[1] Apply online for a UK passport
https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport

[2] Passport processing times and unprecedented levels of demand
https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2022/04/29/factsheet-passport-processing-times-and-unprecedented-levels-of-demand/

[3] Order birth, death, marriage, or civil partnership certificate
https://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-death-marriage-certificate

[4] British Citizenship by Discretion (Marriage pre-1983 Father)
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1032568/Naturalisation_as_British_citizen_by_discretion.pdf

[5] British Overseas citizen
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Overseas_citizen

[6] Passport fees
https://www.gov.uk/passport-fees

[7] Renew or replace your adult passport
https://www.gov.uk/renew-adult-passport/renew

[8] Post Office passport renewal
https://www.postoffice.co.uk/identity/renew-adult-passport

[9] Change your name or personal details on your passport
https://www.gov.uk/changing-passport-information/name-marriage-and-civil-partnership

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