How to Apply for a British Passport

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To apply for British passport you must first hold British nationality.

However, holding British citizenship does not guarantee you will be issued a British passport. Your eligibility and circumstances will be assessed as part of the application process. Reasons for rejection could include for example any bail conditions or court orders you are subject to.

British passports remain the property of the UK Government and can be cancelled or withdrawn at any time.

 

Becoming a British citizen

There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most common is called ‘naturalisation’.

The application for British citizenship requires:

  • You must have been in the UK for 6 or more years
  • During your time in the UK, you must have been working, self-employed, or a student ie exercising your Treaty Rights
  • You must meet the residence requirements, which include an assessment of your absences from the UK and where you intend to live after making the application
  • You will need to pass the Life in the UK Test
  • You also need to pass an approved English Language Test
  • You must meet the ‘good character’ requirement, for example, you must have no recent or serious criminal convictions, you must not be bankrupt, or associated with those considered to have ‘bad character’

 
Once you have attained British Citizenship, you are permitted to proceed with an application for a British passport.

If you are applying for your first British passport, you should expect to have to attend an interview and answers questions to verify your identity.

Note also that securing British nationality will not guarantee you a British passport, if certain circumstances apply.

 

What happens at the passport interview?

If you are over 16 and are applying for your first British passport, you should expect to be asked to attend an interview with the Identity & Passport Service (IPS).

The purpose of the passport interview is to minimise identity fraud. Applicants are required to answer questions relating to personal information to verify your identity.

The interview typically lasts 30 minutes.

 

How long does the passport application process take?

We would advise allowing 10 – 16 weeks to receive your British passport.

Fast tracked services are available for a fee, these however only relate to passport renewals and replacements, not new passport applications.

 

How much does a British passport cost?

From 2 February 2023, the costs for British passports are as follows:

  • First British adult passport: £82.50, or £93 for postal applications
  • Child passport: £53.50, or £64 for postal applications
  • Online premium service: £177
  • One-week fast-track service: £142

 

How do I apply for a child’s British passport?

Any child up to the age of 16 not already on a parent’s passport must hold their own passport. A child passport usually lasts for five years and the holder may continue to use it after they have reached the age of 16 and until the passport expires.

Author

Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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