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A guide to getting a passport

In this article you will find out all that you need to know about how to get a passport. Whether you are applying for a passport for the first time, or your existing one has to be renewed, this is the key information you need to know.

Where to get a passport

You can apply for a passport in person, online or by post, and you should submit your completed application form at least six weeks before you intend to travel. Application forms can be obtained from any post office, by request from the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) website, by calling the Passport Advice line on 0300 222 0000 or by completing the form online. If you chose the latter option, the IPS will print out the completed form for you to sign and once you have completed it, you return it to them with your supporting documents. Your application form will need to be countersigned by someone who has known you for at least two years and they must also certify one of your passport photographs.

Your first adult passport

To obtain your first adult passport you will need to prove that you are British. The IPS want to see original documents as photocopies cannot be accepted. If you were born in the UK before Jan 1983 you must provide your birth or adoption certificate. If you were born in the UK on or after Jan 1 1983, you will need to supply your birth or adoption certificate showing your parent’s details. The IPS will also need to see either your mother’s or your father’s UK birth certificate, or Home Office certificate of registration or naturalisation, or passport that was valid at the time of your birth. Adults who have never previously held a British passport in their own name will have to attend an interview at a regional IPS passport office. You will not need to be interviewed if you have previously held a child passport in your name.

Renewing your passport

If you are renewing your passport you can do so anytime before your current one expires and you can carry a maximum of nine months over to your new passport. You will need to fill out another form, and provide two identical photographs. Your current or recently expired passport is the only supporting documentation you need.

In an emergency

If your trip is only a few days away and you’ve just discovered that your passport needs to be renewed, don’t panic! In emergency situations you can use the IPS Fast Track one-week service or the Premium same-day service. These are by appointment only and you will have to pay a higher fee. For more information visit the IPS website: Ips.gov.uk

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