Passports are essential for international travel. Most last for a long time – the UK Passports can last 10 years! However, Child Passports don’t last as long as adult ones, only remaining valid for five years, so the expiration date can sneak up on you. Undertaking the process of securing documents, identifying a countersignatory and finding the application forms can seem complex. Luckily, our helpful guide to children’s passport renewal in the UK can help by laying out the steps to make it a lot more straightforward.
How do I apply to renew my child’s passport?
The UK Government has a number of official channels for going through the process of renewing a passport for your child, which makes the process far more flexible. You have two main options: renewing the passport online or sending a physical application form through the post. Each of these carries its own process, which we will outline for you below.
Renewing your child’s passport online is very simple. There is an online portal on the UK Government website, in which you can fill out a questionnaire that constitutes the application. Make sure you have your child’s old passport and the supporting documents (detailed below) handy, along with a digital biometric photo (35 x 45mm) of your child that you can upload to the portal. Once everything is prepared, you can send off the application to receive your child’s new passport. If your child is younger than 12, remember to get a countersignatory to approve your child’s application, the details of which are outlined below. Applying online costs £49, so make sure you have your credit or debit card with you.
Renewing by post
If you would prefer a physical application, you can also apply through the post. If you wish to do so, you first need to fill out a paper form, which can either be collected from a participating branch of the Post Office or requested by phone from the Passport Adviceline. As a parent, you have to fill in Sections 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9. Someone with parental responsibility also has to sign the application. If your child is currently 12 years of age or over, they need to fill out section 6 and sign the application themselves. You will have to get a countersignatory to fill out Section 10 if your child is younger than 12, and can’t be recognised in their old passport photo. The countersignatory will also have to sign off on the child’s photo to confirm to the passport authorities that it is genuine. Once this form is filled out, and you have attached the supporting documents, you can mail it in directly, or take it through the Post Office’s Check and Send Service, for a bit of extra peace of mind.
What documents do I need for my child’s passport renewal?
When applying for a passport for your child, you will need to provide supporting documents to the HM Passport Office to prove your child’s identity and British nationality, as well as yours as their parent. You will need to submit:
- Your child’s outgoing UK passport
- Any valid passports from abroad your child may already hold.
- In some cases, you will need to be able to send over any information regarding relevant court orders, specifically those outlining parental custody agreements or your child’s residency arrangements.
When sending these documents over, it is important that you only send original or replacement copies, as the Passport Office will not accept photocopies of these documents as valid evidence. Whether you are making a digital or a paper application, you will also need to provide two biometric photos (35 x 45 mm) of your child that fit the criteria. After the application has been processed, your supporting documents will be sent back to you through the post, however, you can opt to pay an extra £5 to have them securely delivered.
Finding a countersignatory for your child’s application
When you are applying for a passport on a child’s behalf, you may need to provide a countersignatory, who can verify your child’s identity and your relationship to them. When making a digital application, you can simply provide the contact details, and the Passport Office will get in touch with them. You need to speak to them in advance, of course, to make sure they are happy to be put in touch with the authorities. When making a paper application, you will need the countersignatory to sign one of your chosen photos directly. A countersignatory must fulfil several specific criteria to qualify:
- They must be an adult (over 18 years of age)
- They must be UK passport holders themselves.
- They must be a member of a recognised profession, or be a person of standing in your community. Recognised professions include medicine, law and dentistry.
- They must not be a relation, a resident of the same dwelling as you, or in a relationship with you.
Getting a passport urgently
The Passport Office has systems in place to allow you to acquire a passport for your child within three weeks. You may apply for a faster service through either Online Premium or 1 Week Fast Track.
1 Week Fast Track
The 1 Week Fast Track system allows you to accelerate your child’s passport application and is recommended by the Government for renewing child passports quickly. Doing so costs a lot more (£122 for a standard child passport or £132 for a frequent traveller passport), but it is a lot more convenient when you’re in a hurry. There is not a digital application option here, so to use 1 Week Fast Track, you need to pick up a form from the Post Office and fill it out. Once you have done so, you will need to schedule an appointment at your local passport office. You will need to bring with you the completed application form, with two passport size photos attached, as well as the relevant supporting documents. If you can’t attend your appointment for any reason, you can either postpone the meeting or send someone else to attend on your behalf. In the latter case, the attendee must have all the supporting information with them.
Online Premium is both the fastest and most expensive avenue for getting a passport. It costs £177 (45% more expensive than 1 Week Fast Track) or £187 for a frequent traveller passport (42% more expensive), but you can have your child’s passport in as little as two days. You will first need to fill out an online application form, for which you’ll need your child’s old passport and a biometric photo, which you can take yourself. Once you complete the online application and book your child’s appointment, their passport will be printed, ready to receive at the appointment. You’ll need to bring the old passport to the meeting to verify your child’s identity. You should also make sure to bring your passport, or another form of identification, to ensure you can be identified as the child’s parent.
Digital photo for your child’s passport
All that’s left to do now is to get that perfect passport photo. This can always seem a bit tricky. You have to find a photo booth or a photographer, you may have to book out some time to get it done, it costs a lot and, at the end of it all, you might not even have a photo you like. Additionally, your child may not be happy when retakes are needed, or if forced into an unfamiliar, crowded environment like a supermarket, to get their picture taken. Happily, there is a solution! Using the Passport Photo Online website, you can simply upload a photo you took on a normal day, even while your child is playing at home, and, with our AI software, turn it into an ideal shot for your child passport application. Look at the upsides:
- It’s flexible. With our app, you can use all of our services wherever you go, even from your living room! It’s easy and quick to set up and use, anyone can do it!
- You can get a professional finish every time. Passport Photo Online’s AI software, in tandem with our human inspectors, has always got one eye on the official requirements, to make sure your photo is just right.
- You can experiment with different photos. There’s always a bit of trial and error when it comes to taking the perfect photo. We understand! You can upload as many photos as you want for free, and you only pay for the one you order. That way, you’ll always have a photo you can be proud of!
- You can save money. Our service will cost you up to 54% less than a photo booth, particularly if you need to get passports for more than one child.
- Guarantee of acceptance. If your child’s passport application gets turned away by the authorities because the photo wasn’t right, we’ll refund you for double what you paid.
Once you figure out the process, all you need to do is follow the steps. Preparing the form, taking the photo, securing a countersignatory, it’ll all seem like second nature after a while. Once that’s all done, there’s nothing left to do but wait for your child’s new passport. When it comes, you’re all ready for the next big family holiday!
Renewing a kid’s passport: FAQ
How much will it cost to renew a child’s British passport?
The cost depends on how you apply. Applying digitally for a child passport costs £49 while applying using a paper form costs £58.50.
How long will it take for a child passport renewal to come back?
The standard processing time for a children’s passport renewal is 5 weeks, but depending on the number of applications currently being processed, it can take longer. It is a good idea to allow up to 10 weeks to revise your child’s new passport. If you need a passport sooner than that, there’s always the Online Premium (minimum £177) and 1 Week Fast Track (minimum £122) options that will allow you to get it sent sooner.
How do I renew my child’s passport online?
Renewing your child’s passport online is easy! You just need to go to the UK Government website and find the passport application portal. From there, you fill out the questionnaire, upload the digital photo and provide details for your countersignatory and send it in. The application costs £49, which you can pay by card.
How often do children’s passports need to be renewed in the UK?
UK Passports need to be renewed every 10 years, however, child passports are valid for a shorter period, and need to be renewed every 5 years.
Can I print a UK passport application form?
No, passport application forms can only be acquired through the Post Office or the Passport Adviceline.
Do I need both parents’ birth certificates for a child passport?
When you need a birth certificate for your application, you only need the birth certificate of one parent with British nationality, to prove your child is British and therefore qualifies for a passport.
What do you need to renew a child’s passport?
To renew a child’s passport, the Passport Office requires several supporting documents, a completed application and payment. Applicants will need to provide:
– the child’s old passport
– any other passports the child may have (issued by other countries)
– any relevant court orders, particularly relating to residency or parental responsibility arrangements.
Remember to send original copies of these documents, as the Passport Office will not accept photocopies.
Which is the quickest way to renew a child’s passport?
The fastest way to renew a child’s passport is to use the Passport Office’s 1 Week Fast Track service. The system allows children (or a parent if the child is under 16 (sixteen) years of age) to attend a passport appointment and renew their passport in 1 (one) week or less.
To do this, a parent or guardian must get a paper application form from a local Post Office. Once the form is complete, it’s time to book an appointment. Children under 16 (sixteen) are exempt from passport interviews, so a parent must go on their behalf in these cases.
For 1 Week Fast Track interviews, the Passport Office will require attendees to bring with them the following items:
– 2 (two) identical printed biometric photos
– a filled-out application form
– the relevant supporting documents (outlined in more detail above).
If the interview is successful, the Passport Office will get to work and deliver the new child’s passport in just 1 (one) week.
Do I need to renew my child’s passport?
Yes, child passports do not last forever, just like adult passports. In fact, child passports have a shorter period of validity than adult passports, just 5 (five) years compared to 10 (ten) years.
Does my child need to come to the Passport Office?
Children under 16 (sixteen) years of age do not need to come to the Passport Office for an interview. A parent can appear on their behalf.
Do I need to send my passport with my child’s application?
No, but the regulations require the child’s old passport to be submitted.
Do I need to update my child’s passport photo?
Yes, all child passport renewals require the applicant to submit an up-to-date child passport photo. When applying online, applicants must prepare 1 (one) digital copy of the new passport photo and upload it to the application.
When applying on paper, applicants must provide 2 (two) identical copies of the passport photo, printed on good-quality photo paper. They should be kept loose and added to the envelope with the application form (do not attach them to the form).
Can you use Online Premium to renew a child’s passport?
No, the Online Premium service will only accept applications for adult passport renewals.
-  https://www.gov.uk/get-a-child-passport/renew-a-child-passport
-  https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport
Having graduated with a History degree from the University of Birmingham, Sam has proven writing experience in biometric photography articles, marketing and events. Born in the UK, he has travelled extensively both nationally and internationally. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cycling and skateboarding.