Helping Your Child To Apply For A First Adult Passport

Helping Your Child To Apply For A First Adult Passport

As your child grows up, there are a number of key milestones to look forward to, like finishing school or passing their driving test. One oft-overlooked milestone is your child applying for their first adult passport. In 2011, a whopping 76% of UK adults had a valid passport, so it should be no surprise when your “not-so-little-one” asks for your assistance with the application. 

Luckily, Passport Photo Online is here to help! We’ve compiled a quick and simple reference guide to getting a first adult passport, so you will be well on your way to completing the application in no time. 

Passport photo in 3s!

Take a photo with your smartphone, upload it to the website, we will convert it to an official passport photo and send you a digital or printed version. Simple? You can’t get more convenient than that!

digital passport photo

Guide to applying for your first adult passport

If you wish to apply for a first adult passport, there are a few things you need to know. You must be sure of the criteria one has to fulfil to be eligible for an adult passport, the details of the application process itself and any extra document requirements or interviews you may need to prepare for. Read on, and our handy guide will tell you about all the stages you will go through, from start to finish. 

Eligibility for your first adult passport

In order to be eligible for an adult British passport, your child needs to fulfil the following criteria:

  • They are currently 16 (sixteen) years of age or will be within the following 3 (three) weeks.
  • They have never held an adult British passport before.
  • They are a British national or British citizen.

Remember that a valid child passport can be used up until it expires, even after your child has turned 18, so they’ll never be without a passport. However, it is more than worth familiarising yourselves with the process early, so you can apply with plenty of time before your next big trip.

The application process for a first adult passport

The application process for your child’s first adult passport will vary depending on your child’s chosen method of applying, as the HM Passport Office holds different application processes for paper passport applications and online passport applications. 

We’ve compiled a list for each, so you can discover how these work, and make your own judgement about which is the best option. 

Online application

To apply for a first adult passport online, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Prepare a digital passport photo, which is fully compliant with HM Passport Office’s regulations.
  2. Prepare the other relevant supporting documents, for example, a birth certificate. Make sure that you also find a suitable countersignatory (more on that below).
  3. Fill out the online application form, which you can find on the UK Government website. If applying on someone else’s behalf, make sure that you fill the form out with their details, not your own.
  4. Pay the £75.50 application fee. Failure to do so will result in your passport application being delayed. You must therefore have a debit or credit card ready, and input the details when prompted in the application.
  5. After your child’s form has been submitted, they will receive an email that details where they need to send the required supporting documents. Follow their directions and post these documents as soon as you can.
  6. After this, your child may need to submit to an interview to confirm their identity. Keep an eye on your emails and be prepared to book a slot if necessary.
  7. That’s it. All that’s left to do is wait for your new adult passport to arrive in the mail.

Paper application

Should your child prefer to do their passport applications on paper, there is a separate process that you need to follow:

  1. Take a fully compliant 35mm x 45mm passport photo and print out 2 (two) identical versions.
  2. Compile the supporting documents that your child will need for your application. Locate a suitable countersignatory and confirm their willingness to participate.
  3. Acquire a paper passport application form. There are two sources for these: a branch of the Post Office that offers the Passport Check and Send service (ask at the counter) or the Passport Adviceline (who can post application forms to you).
  4. Fill out all the relevant sections of the application form (usually 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9), making sure that your countersignatory adds in their details in section 10 and signs and dates one of the photos you’re planning to submit.
  5. Your child’s form is now ready to send off! They can either use the pre-prepared envelope that the Passport Adviceline provides, or simply take it to the Post Office if you wish to use the Check and Send service, where they will confirm that everything’s in order before sending it off.
  6. As with an online application, your child may need to attend an interview at this point. Check your emails regularly for any information about this.
  7. You’re finished! Now, you will simply need to wait for the new passport to arrive.


When your child is applying for a first adult passport, they will need to secure the support of a UK passport countersignatory, who will sign their passport application and photo to verify their identity. Countersignatories need to fulfil several criteria: they must be a UK passport holder, they cannot be related to your child, or living at the same address, they must be a member of a recognised profession and they must have known your child for at least two years.

Looking for more tips for your passport application? Look no further:

Passport interviews

In some cases, once they’ve applied for their passport, your child may need to submit to a passport interview in order to confirm their identity. If this becomes necessary, they will be given plenty of notice in order to book their interview slot and to prepare for it. 

At the time of writing, many passport interviews are still taking place online, so they need to pay attention to the instructions they are given, and make sure to flag any important emails they receive. 

When your child attends the interview, they will need to bring with them the appointment letter or email, as it carries their booking number. If they are being interviewed by video call, they must also have with them a form of photo ID, for example, a driving licence.

The interview will take 30 (thirty) minutes or 60 (sixty) minutes (if applying from overseas), and will consist of a series of questions confirming your child’s identity, checking that they match the photo they’ve submitted and a signature, to guard against fraud.

Delivery times

At the time of writing, the passport application will take around 7 (seven) weeks to process, before their new passport is shipped to them. This can be subject to change, depending on demand, staffing and external pressures, so it is a good idea to check the government website, which is updated regularly, to to make sure you have the most up-to-date information on processing times. 

Remember that when applying for your first adult passport, you will not be allowed to have your passport delivered through the urgent passport services, Online Premium and 1 Week Fast Track.  Thus, to make the process as fast as possible, first-time adult passport applicants need to make sure they have a suitable passport photo available. A biometric photo is arguably the most important part of a passport as it verifies the holder’s identity to border officials. 

The rules regarding their format and how you should take them are therefore very stringent, so you need to get this right. Our recommendation is to use Passport Photo Online’s website or app to guarantee a successful photo. There are plenty of advantages to using this system:

  • You are guaranteed a compliant photo. We are dedicated to our work and accept only the highest standards. If your application is denied because the photo was deemed unsuitable, we will refund you for 200% of what you paid for the photo.
  • The service is very flexible. Passport Photo Online is internet-based, so, whether you’re at home, on the beach or in the park, you’ll still be able to use our services. This makes it very easy to fit around your day to day life.
  • We let you take as many attempts as you want. We’ve all been there. Despite our best efforts, there’s always a chance of taking a passport photo we’re not happy with. Luckily, Passport Photo Online can make that a thing of the past. With us, you can take as many photos as you need to to find the perfect shot, free of charge. You will only need to pay for the one you wish to ultimately use in your passport application.
  • You can save a lot of money. On average, Passport Photo Online can save you around 54% on your passport photos. That’s a massive saving and is particularly useful if you need to get a passport photo for more than one person.

Applying for your first adult passport: FAQ

Read through the following questions for answers related to first adult passports in the United Kingdom. 

At what age does a child passport run out?

There is no specific age at which your child passport becomes invalid. You are allowed to use it until it expires, even if you become an adult. After you are three weeks away from turning 16, though, you are eligible to apply for your first adult passport, should you wish to.

Do I need a countersignatory for a first adult passport?

Yes, you will need a countersignatory for a first adult passport. The countersignatory will verify the recipient’s identity, and failing to find a suitable one can delay the application process considerably.

How long does it take to get an adult’s first passport?

Currently, it takes 7 (seven) weeks to process a first adult passport application, not including postage time for the passport itself to reach you. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and ensure you have left enough time for your new passport to arrive.

How to renew a passport for 16 year old?

British nationals aged 16 (sixteen) or over need to apply for their first UK adult passport. If they possess a UK child passport that is nearing its expiration date, they can follow the same process as adults for renewing or replacing an adult passport.  

Adult passport age–what is it?

Citizens of the UK can apply for an adult passport if they are 16 (sixteen) years of age or older. They may also apply if they will be turning 16 (sixteen) within the next 3 (three) weeks. 

How to get your first passport fast?

Call the Passport Adviceline at 0300 222 0000. Valid reasons for urgent passport issuances are solely limited to the need for urgent medical treatment or the illness or death of a close friend or family member.  

What passport does a 17 year old need?

A 17-year-old must apply for a UK adult passport if they have never owned a UK passport before or if their child passport has expired. 

Passport for 18 year old–what kind?

An 18-year-old must apply for a UK adult passport if applying for their first-ever passport. UK child passports are still accepted as long as they are valid regardless of an individual’s age.   

How old do you have to be to get a 10 year passport?

You must be turning 16 (sixteen) within the next 3 (three) weeks or older to get a UK passport with a 10-year validity. 

What is a first adult passport?

A first adult passport is a standard UK passport valid for 10 (ten) years from its issuance date. British citizens aged 16 (sixteen) or older can apply for their first adult passport.  

First adult passport documents–what do I need?

You will need your full birth certificate and documentation proving one parent’s British heritage or naturalisation status. For a comprehensive list of necessary documents, visit our UK passport application tutorial.  

Can a 16 year old apply for their own passport?

Yes, they can. Any UK citizen aged 16 (sixteen) or older can apply for their own UK passport. This includes individuals who will be turning 16 (sixteen) in 3 (three) weeks or less.  

Can you use fast track for first adult passport?

No, you cannot. British citizens applying for their first UK adult passport cannot use the 1 (one) week Fast Track service. 

Can you use a child passport when you turn 18?

Yes, provided it is still valid. UK child passports can be used until their expiration date, no matter the individual’s age.  

Summing up

As you can see, as long as you know the process, applying for a first adult passport is simple, with only 7 steps to remember regardless of whether you’re making an online or paper application. 

Using our handy guide, you’ll be able to effectively navigate either of these processes, so you will be in the best position to help your child with their application. Reading through the two application systems, you also learn that there are a lot of commonalities between them. Your child will always require a countersignatory, they always need to prepare supporting documents and, of course, they will always need a passport photo. Once they’ve got all that sorted, all that’s left to do is sit and wait for the arrival of a brand new adult passport, ready to be taken around the world.

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