Applying For A Child's First Passport


Applying For A Child's First Passport

2 min read

Getting ready to take your little one on holiday? It can be a stressful experience, but it’s often unavoidable if you have kids and want to soak up a bit of sunshine. Before you pack your bags and start thinking about airport parking (of course, you already know the best place to book that parking!) you need to make sure your child has a passport.

Here is a quick guide and some frequently asked questions about getting your child’s first passport.

How much does it cost to apply for a child’s passport?

The price varies depending on whether you apply online or by post. Online applications cost £53.50 while mail applications cost £64. These prices are subject to change and may steadily creep up over the next few years.

How long does it take to get my child’s passport?

It can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks to get your passport, provided you live in the UK. If you reside outside of the UK, you may need to wait a couple of weeks more.

Getting a Passport for Your Child

Applying for a British passport for your child can be troublesome and there are a few steps to complete, but thanks to digitisation, it’s much easier than it used to be. As long as you have the necessary documents (including the photographs) and are ready to pay the fee, it should be a breeze and you’ll have that passport before you know it.

Also, bear in mind that the passport will last for 5 years, so you don’t need to wait until the last minute before you apply. Not only can the process take a few weeks to complete (even longer if you apply by post) but if there is an issue (such as rejected images or a request for further details) it could greatly prolong the waiting period and potentially destroy your holiday plans. So, start the application process as soon as you know that you’ll need a passport.

How to Apply for Your Child’s First Passport

When applying for a passport for your child, you must be able to provide details of both parents or a reason why such details can’t be provided. You must also show that they are British or are entitled to British nationality.

The steps to apply for your child’s passport include:

Step One: Verify Your Application

Someone must be able to confirm that your child is who you say they are. This “counter signatory” cannot be related (by marriage or birth) and they can’t be a doctor (unless they know you well) work for the Passport Office or be in a relationship with you.

They must be at least 18 years old, have a UK passport, and have known the child for at least 2 years. They can be a friend, neighbour, or colleague. There are also requirements regarding their profession, as they must work or have worked in a “recognised” field, which includes everything from company directors to those in the legal, medical, and education professions.

You will be asked for their information and they will then be sent an email from the HM Passport Office. They should confirm that they know the child and recognise them in the photo provided. This process usually takes just a few minutes.

How do I apply by post?

To apply for a child’s passport by post, you can use the Check and Send service from the Post Office. It costs £16, in addition to the usual passport fee, and there’s less chance of your application being rejected as they’ll help you to complete it.

You can learn more about the Check and Send service here.

Alternatively, request a passport application form from the Passport Office. The easiest way to get in touch with them is via Webchat or by calling: 0300 222 0000.

How do I apply online?

You can apply online via the official Gov.UK site. Just

click here and then follow the steps. Make sure you have a valid payment method ready.

Step Two: Get the Right Documents

You must have all of the following documents to apply for a passport for your child:

  • 2 pictures of the child (more on those below)
  • A full birth certificate
  • Proof of British nationality (such as a parent’s passport)
  • Relevant passports issued by other countries
  • Relevant court orders describing parent responsibility

Original copies are needed. You can’t send photocopies. If you’re making a postal application, consider sending them by secure delivery. It’ll cost a little extra (about £5 at the time of writing) but could save you a lot of trouble.

If you’re applying online, you will also need a credit or debit card to pay the fee.

Step Three: Prepare the Photos

The photographs must be passport-sized, with the child set against a light background, not wearing anything on their head or face, and ideally not smiling. Their eyes should be open if they are over 1 year old, but this is not required for children younger than 1. Depending on the age of your child, this might be the hardest and most frustrating part of the process.

Consider taking the photographs at home. Just lay your child on a white sheet or blanket, centre them in the shot, and take the picture. From there, you just need to resize the images and prepare them.

Make sure you follow the stated rules and get the images right. Don’t assume that “they will do” and the Passport Office will do the resizing for you or let you off with an off-centre shot. They won’t.

How big should the photos be?

If you’re applying for your child’s passport online, the photographs need to be at least 750 pixels high and 600 pixels wide. The file size should be no less than 50KB and more than 10MB. They should also be unedited.

Step Four: Wait

Once you complete the above steps, you’re ready to complete your passport application and await your child’s first passport. It will be posted to you by courier or via the Royal Mail. They will either post it through your letterbox or hand it over as a secure delivery.

The passport will be valid for 5 years, after which you’ll need to renew. The process of renewing is much the same as applying. You will also pay the same fee when renewing online.