British Passport Processing Time – Guide to Getting Ahead of the Game

A woman holding a passport with a shocked expression while someone writes in a notebook.

When you’re planning for a trip abroad, you need to make sure that your passport is valid. If not, you’ll need to apply a few weeks in advance to make sure you have enough time to fill out an application form, and Her Majesty’s Passport Office enough time to process your application and send you a new passport. How can you tell how far in advance to plan? What you need is a guide to British passport processing time that can provide you with the information you need in order to plan ahead and make sure your passport is ready for your next holiday. Get this right, and you’ll be mere weeks away from smelling the fresh sea air and feeling the warm sand between your toes. Luckily, Passport Photo Online is here to help! With our guidance, you’ll be more than prepared, and your long-awaited trip abroad will be safe.

A woman holding a passport with a shocked expression while someone writes in a notebook.

UK passport processing times – different scenarios

Her Majesty’s Passport Office recommends you allow around 10 (ten) weeks of processing time for your British passport, so they can approve your application and send your new passport to you. Processing times are often shorter than this, but this allows for unforeseen delays, problems with supporting documents or sudden periods of high volume. If you’re looking for more specific information, the Passport Office regularly publishes updates on their processing times, and there can be variation depending on your situation, for example, whether you’re applying for an adult passport or a child passport. We live in an ever-changing world, though, and these times can change quickly. This makes it important to check the website regularly. That way, you can comfortably have all your documents in order in time for your trip. Read on as we take you through the different variations on applying for a passport, and how it affects the time. In all cases, there will be differences depending on whether you make an online application or a written one, as a result of the time needed to post a paper form to the Passport Office.

Applying for a first adult passport

When you are applying for an adult British passport for the first time, your lack of track record will mean that it will take longer for your application to be processed. You should therefore allow more time for your passport application to be processed. There may be more checks they need to do. At the time of writing, it takes 6 (six) weeks to process a first adult British passport application.

Applying for a first child passport

Applying for a child passport is, as a general rule, more complicated than applying for an adult one. This is because there are many important safeguarding rules in place to guarantee the child’s welfare. As with the process of applying for a first adult passport, applying for a first child passport may sometimes take longer than renewing one. At the time of writing, it takes 5 (five) weeks.

Renewing an adult passport

Renewing an adult British passport is considerably easier than applying for your first one. This is largely because it means you’re already a known quantity to the Passport Office. Therefore, the time it takes to process the application is generally shorter. At the time of writing, it only takes 5 (five) weeks.

Renewing a child passport

If you want to renew a child’s British passport, it will still require more legwork than the equivalent process for an adult passport. Luckily, it is still easier than applying for your child’s first passport. At the time of writing, it only takes 5 (five) weeks.

Replacing a damaged adult passport

If you damage a British passport to the extent that it’s no longer legible, you will need to replace it. You will need to send your old passport in when you renew it and, where necessary, offer justification for the damage. At the time of writing, it only takes 5 (five) weeks.

Replacing a damaged child passport

Similar to the process for an adult, if your child’s passport has been damaged, you will need to replace it if it can no longer be used. Make sure to keep them informed of the reason the passport was damaged to this extent. At the time of writing, it only takes 5 (five) weeks.

Replacing a lost or stolen adult passport

If you are an adult, and you need to deal with a lost or stolen passport, you only need to go through the process of renewing your passport with a few extra supporting documents. This is to prove your situation is genuine. Once you’ve submitted all the relevant documentation with your passport application, all you have to do is wait. At the time of writing, it only takes 5 (five) weeks.

Replacing a lost or stolen child passport

If your child’s passport is lost or stolen, the process is much the same, although, as ever, with extra documentation for safeguarding purposes. Make sure to submit all the supporting documents you need to. At the time of writing, it only takes 5 (five) weeks.

Changing your details on your passport

Changing your details on your passport is no different to renewing a passport, it simChanging your details on your passport is no different to renewing a passport, it simply requires different supporting documents to be submitted. As such, the processing time for changing the details on your passport is unlikely to be greater than the processing time for a passport renewal. At the time of writing, it takes 5 (five) weeks.

Using your local post office

If you want a bit of extra security when applying for British passports, you can also use the Post Office Check and Send service. They can supervise your application, to make sure it’s correctly filled out. Depending on whether you use a Digital Check and Send or a Paper Check and Send, there will be a small difference in the amount of time it will take. The standard processing times will apply whether you’re applying for your first passport or your tenth, but while the Digital Check and Send will reach Her Majesty’s Passport Office instantaneously, the Paper Check and Send will have 1 day’s lead time, as your application form will be posted there via special delivery. Although Royal Mail guarantees it will arrive by 9am the next day, it is nevertheless worth taking this into account.

Getting a passport urgently

Need a passport in a hurry? Ideally, you need to sort out your passport in advance, but sometimes, life catches up with us. In an emergency, the Passport Office can offer much quicker application approval. By asking for Online Premium or 1 Week Fast track, you can bypass typical processing times and get your passport in as little as two days! Additional charges will apply, but this is very helpful in an emergency. For more information about how to get a passport urgently, check out this article.

Applying from overseas

If you are a British citizen living overseas, you are still entitled to apply for a new UK passport. The processing time depends on where you are currently living. If you want to find out what the processing times are for your nation of residence, then you need to check out the UK Government’s overseas application portal. Simply enter the country you’re living in and follow the instructions. The form will inform you how long the process will take.

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Save even more time by getting a photo with Passport Photo Online!

As long as you keep yourself informed on the British passport processing times, you should easily be able to get your new passport in time for your trip. If you want to save even more time when applying for your British passport, then look no further than Passport Photo Online‘s quick and easy solution! It couldn’t be simpler! All you have to do is follow our 3 (three) step process to get the perfect biometric photo for your British passport applications within 15 (fifteen) minutes. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find and prepare a suitable setting. You need to have a light grey or plain cream background for your photo, as laid out in the official guidelines. Make sure the lighting is even, with no glare or shadows in the background. If possible, find a place with natural light. You won’t be allowed to use a selfie. Instead, ask one of your friends or a family member to take the photo. 📸
  2. Have your chosen assistant take your photo, using the camera app on your phone or our own mobile app to do so. You might also opt to upload an existing picture to Passport Photo Online’s website or app. Make sure that you use a picture taken within the last month. After submitting your photo, our AI software will get to work, checking your photo and editing it to meet the specifications.
  3. Repeat the process as many times as you need. Once you find a photo you’re happy with, order your copy, as a paper reel or a digital download. 

All of this will take you a quarter of an hour, or even less than that! 15 short minutes and your British passport photo will all be done, allowing you to revel in the extra free time you have, to spend making memories with your friends and loved ones! It saves a lot of money, too. In fact, by using Passport Photo Online to get your new passport photo, you can save 54%! That is a staggering saving, and well worth doing. It might help you afford one more tantalising “because I’m on holiday” meal out when you come to test your new passport. 

You can be confident you’ll get your passport on time, too, because we go above and beyond to guarantee our work. In the unlikely event that the Passport Office rejects your application because of a photo we edited, we’ll refund you 200% of what you paid. That’s right, 200%. We’re that sure of ourselves. That’s not all, though. Your photo won’t just be best for the Passport Office, it will be best for you, too. We’ve all looked at our passport photos and been dissatisfied. However, as stated above, you can make as many attempts to take your photo as you need to, all free of charge. You’ll only pay for the finished product. Now that’s a deal you don’t want to miss out on. 

Summing up

There you go! All the different scenarios, with their processing times laid out for you. Having them broken down like this will help you to plan the process of applying for your new British passport and preparing for your holiday. Stick with us, and you’ll have it with time to spare. Especially if you use Passport Photo Online to get your passport photo – it only takes 15 minutes! Then, all you have to think about is lying on the beach, feeling the sun warm your face, secure and relaxed in the knowledge that you planned well. 🏖 We’ll make sure to update this page regularly so that you know you have the most up-to-date knowledge possible.

FAQs

How quickly are passports being processed in the UK?

As you can see above, UK passport processing times largely depend on your situation. Here’s a breakdown of the current times:

AdultChild
First Passport6 (six) weeks5 (five) weeks
Passport Renewal5 (five) weeks5 (five) weeks
Damaged Passport5 (five) weeks5 (five) weeks
Lost or Stolen Passport5 (five) weeks5 (five) weeks
Changing Details5 (five) weeks5 (five) weeks
Post Office Application5 (five) weeks5 (five) weeks
Urgent Passport Renewal (Online Premium)Up to 2 (two) days from when you submit the application.Up to 2 (two) days from when you submit the application.
Urgent Passport Renewal (1 Week Fast Track)1 (one) week1 (one) week
Overseas ApplicationVariesVaries

How long does it take to receive your first British passport?

If you apply for your first UK passport, it will take a little longer to arrive than if you were simply renewing your passport. Currently, it will take around 6 (six) weeks to arrive, but this is subject to change regularly. Generally, the Passport Office advises that you leave at least 10 (ten) weeks to apply for your passport, but use your judgement.

What are the UK passport processing times overseas?

The UK passport processing times overseas will depend on where you are. It’s not necessarily as simple as the further away, the longer it takes. Your best bet is to check the UK Government website to confirm how long it will take for your new passport to arrive.

RELATED READING:

A Guide to Your Passport Interview

Change the Name on Your Passport – A Guide

Children’s Passport Renewal – UK

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