Supporting Documents Needed for Passport – UK

A woman drinks from a mug with an important document, next to a UK passport.

So, you’re preparing your application for your new British passport. You’ve filled the form out and all you need to do is prepare the supporting documents needed for a UK passport application. The documentation you’ll have to send in will largely depend on your situation. Depending on your age, citizenship status, parental responsibility agreements, and even name changes, you will need to provide different items. Luckily, Passport Photo Online is here to help! Read on as we break down the guidelines for supporting documents, giving you a list of which to look for when preparing your application.

A woman drinks from a mug with an important document, next to a UK passport.

UK passport supporting documents

There’s a lot of things you need to think about when submitting your passport application, but, with a little research, you can get it done quickly and with ease. This list of supporting documents is designed to simplify your research considerably. All you need to do is find the conditions which apply to you and prepare accordingly. Remember that the Passport Office will only accept original copies of all of these documents, so don’t send photocopies, as they will be rejected and will only delay your application. It’s important to note that supporting documentation must be submitted by post even if you are applying online. 

In addition, it’s a good idea to check the government website before you apply, in order to make sure that you have the most up-to-date information on supporting documents.

What all applications need

There is a lot of variation in what documentation you need to provide when applying for a British passport, however, there are two notable constants that you need to offer as part of every application.

  • Any existing valid passport you may have, to help prove your identity. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t necessarily need to be a UK passport, foreign passports will also be accepted by HM Passport Office.
  • Either 2 (two) identical passport-size photos, which will be included with your application if applying on paper (they must be kept loose, not pinned or stapled), or 1 (one) digital photo to be uploaded if you are applying online. These must fit the UK passport photo guidelines, and, where applicable, must not be fixed to the paper form. Remember that, when applying on paper, you must get one photo certified by a countersignatory, or provide details of a countersignatory for an online application, if:
    • You wish to apply for your first UK passport.
    • You wish to replace a passport that has been lost, stolen or damaged.
    • You are renewing a child passport, for a child aged 11 (eleven) years old or younger.
    • You are renewing a passport for an adult, or a child aged 12-15 (twelve-fifteen), who is no longer physically recognisable in their existing passport photo.
    • You are applying to extend a passport.

It’s also a good idea to research who can sign a passport photo, to make sure you find the right countersignatory.

Supporting documents – apply for first passport

Are you applying for your first UK passport? Depending on when you were born, there are a number of different documents you’ll need to provide:

  • If you were born before 1st January 1983, you will need to provide your birth certificate or, where applicable, your adoption certificate.
  • If you were born on or after 1st January 1983, you will be required to submit a full UK birth certificate or an adoption certificate that displays the details of your parents. It is important to get the full versions, as UK registrars offer a shorter version free of charge that will not be accepted by the passport office.
  • If you have previously been naturalised or registered for UK citizenship status, you should submit your certificate of naturalisation or registration, along with any passport you used to get into the UK, including foreign passports you may hold. If you are under 16 (sixteen) years of age, you will also need to submit a full birth certificate or adoption certificate to allow the passport office to verify your parents’ identities. If you are 16 (sixteen) or over, it is unlikely that you will be required to submit a birth certificate.

Born or adopted in the UK?

If you’ve been born or adopted in the UK, you will need to give evidence to prove this. This can include:

  • Evidence of your parents’ claim to British nationality at the time of your birth. There are several potential forms this could take:
    • One of your parents’ passport numbers.
    • A full UK birth certificate from one of your parents.
    • A certificate of registration or naturalisation held by one or more of your parents.
  • If you are making a claim for a UK passport through your father, you will need to also provide evidence of a current, or previous, connection with your mother, for example, a marriage certificate.

OR

  • Evidence proving your parents’ immigration status at the time of your birth. Again, there are a number of options that you can take:
    • A parent’s passport, valid at the time of your birth.
    • If you use your father’s passport, the marriage certificate, showing a relationship between your father and mother, will be needed.
    • Unique Application Number, if your parents had been given Indefinite Leave To Remain under the EU’s settlement scheme.

Born or adopted abroad?

If you have been born or adopted abroad, you can still get a UK passport! Here’s what you need to send with your application:

  • An adoption certificate from the relevant nation’s government that states that the adoption process took place under conditions that adhere to Article 17 of the Convention of Intercountry Adoption, under the Hague Convention.
  • Proof of one of your adopter’s claims to British nationality. This could comprise a UK birth certificate, a certificate of naturalisation or a certificate of registration.
  • Evidence that one of your adopters is a current habitual resident of the UK. Habitual residence refers to a person, or persons’ normal home, the dwelling in which they live for the majority of the time, with the strongest personal stake. In the case of a joint adoption, both adopters must prove habitual residence in the UK.

Applying for a child, who has parental responsibility agreements?

Applying for a child passport in these circumstances carries a number of additional security measures. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Any court orders that outline the terms of the parental responsibility agreement.
  • Other forms of parental responsibility order or other evidence of an agreement.

Are you unable to sign the form?

If you are unable to sign the form, there are procedures in place to help. Here’s what you need to provide:

  • A letter outlining why you cannot sign the form. Try and use as much detail as you possibly can.

UK passport renewal – supporting documents

Should you wish to renew your British passport, you will still need to provide a set of supporting documents. As with applying for a first passport, what you need to send will depend on your situation. Luckily, once it’s laid out, it’s easy to understand. Just find the sections that apply to you, and you’ll know exactly what to prepare.

Held a British passport before?

If you’ve held a British passport before, you will need to submit at least one of the following, depending on your circumstances:

  • Current British passport.
  • Current British Overseas Territories Citizen passport.
  • Current British National or British Subject passport.
  • British passport that has been written by hand. Should you wish to take this option, you need to submit the form for a first British passport to the passport office and provide a copy of your birth certificate.
  • Damaged passport (along with any information you can provide on how and why the passport is damaged).
  • Where applicable, provide any details on how your passport has been lost or stolen. This must be entered into section 3c of the passport application form.

Renewing a child passport?

As previously stated, child passports carry extra degrees of security, and child passport renewals are no exception. Here’s what you should be preparing for your application:

  • Court orders that would be pertinent to your child passport application, particularly with regards to parental responsibility.
  • Parental responsibility orders or any evidence that can be found of a parental responsibility agreement.

Unable to sign the application form?

As before, the government has procedures in place to accommodate people who cannot sign their application forms. Here’s what you must provide:

  • A letter from the applicant, if they cannot sign the passport application form, with a detailed description of why they are unable to do so.

Recently became a British citizen?

If you’ve recently become a British citizen, you’ll need to provide evidence to back up this claim. To do so, you will need access to the following:

  • A birth or adoption certificate.
  • A certificate of registration or naturalisation.

Changed from British Overseas Territories citizen to British citizen?

If you’ve recently transitioned from British Overseas Territories citizenship to British citizenship, you will need to provide proof of this. This can take the form of:

  • Your parents’ documents.

OR

  • A certificate of naturalisation or registration as either a citizen of the British Overseas Territories or a British citizen.

AND

  • Grandparents Documents.

Need to change your date or place of birth?

If you need to change the date or place of birth on your passport, for whatever reason, you  will need:

  • A birth certificate that displays your place of birth
  • A birth certificate that displays your date of birth

Has your gender changed?

If you have undergone a gender transition since you last applied for a passport, you will need to have your passport changed to reflect this. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • A gender recognition certificate.

OR

  • A revised birth certificate, or adoption certificate, that displays your new gender.

OR 

  • A letter from a medical consultant, e.g. a doctor/GP that can confirm that your change of gender is likely to be a permanent one, along with any document that confirms your previous name and a document that confirms your new name.

Applying for a new passport from outside the UK – supporting documents

If you are planning on applying for a British passport from outside the UK there will be some extra documentation you need to provide to prove your identity and your claim to a UK passport. Read on to find out what you’ll need to present to the passport authorities.

Born before 1st January 1983?

If you were born before 1st January 1983, you will need:

  • Your full birth/adoption certificate – which shows your parents’ details. Don’t use the short version that you can get from the registrar, it will not be accepted.
  • Your father’s birth certificate, naturalisation certificate, or registration certificate.

Born on or after 1st January 1983?

If you were born after the 1st January 1983, you will need to provide some extra documentation. You will need:

  • Your full birth or adoption certificate, which displays the details of your parents. You must use the full version, the short version you can get from the registrar will not be considered a valid supporting document by the passport office.
  • A birth certificate, registration certificate or naturalisation certificate, belonging to one of your parents.
  • If you use your father’s documents, you must provide evidence of your father’s connection to your birth mother, e.g. a marriage certificate.

Born abroad, then adopted in the UK before 1st January 1983?

If you were born outside the UK but adopted in it before 1st January 1983, here’s what you’ll need to provide:

  • The full adoption certificate of the child in question.
  • Evidence of a valid claim to British nationality held by an adoptive parent. This can be a UK birth certificate, adoption certificate or a naturalisation/registration certificate.
  • If this is a joint adoption, the passport office will also need evidence of the adoptive father’s British nationality.

Adopted abroad and don’t have a naturalisation certificate?

If you have been adopted abroad, and you haven’t yet been granted a naturalisation certificate, you can still apply for a UK passport. You will need to provide the following:

  • An adoption certificate, that states clearly that the child’s adoption took place while adhering to Article 17 (seventeen) of The Hague Convention’s Convention on Intercountry Adoption.
  • The claim of one of the adopters to British nationality. This could be a UK birth certificate or a naturalisation/registration certificate.
  • Evidence that one or more of the adopters has a habitual residence in the UK (i.e. a residence that they spend the vast majority of their time living full time in, and where they have the strongest connections).

Regarding grandparents

If you are applying for a British passport from abroad, and your parents were born on or after 1st January 1983, you will also need to provide some evidence that your grandparents can claim British nationality by submitting their birth certificates. If you use your grandfather’s birth certificate, you will also need to provide a marriage certificate. There are two scenarios where this doesn’t apply: if your parents’ British nationality comes from their immigration status or naturalisation/registration certificate and if you have already provided your parents’ British passport numbers on the application form.

Passport name change documents – UK

Changing your name is a very important matter, not just for yourself but for the authorities. Therefore, if you are trying to apply for a passport under a different name, you will need to submit a number of extra pieces of documentation when applying for your new passport.

Changing your name for marriage/partnership?

Recently married or entered a civil partnership? Congratulations! You’ll need to provide some proof of this union to get your name changed on your passport:

  • A valid marriage certificate.
  • A valid civil partnership certificate.

Changing your name back to your maiden name or previous name?

Planning on changing your name back to a previous name, e.g. a maiden name? Here’s what the passport office will need:

  • One document that confirms the name you are currently using, for example, a driving licence, bank statement or employment record.
  • Your birth certificate.
  • Your marriage certificate/civil partnership certificate, outlining both names that you go by.
  • Where applicable, a decree absolute.
  • Evidence of any previous name changes you may have undertaken, for example, a marriage certificate or a deed poll.
  • A signed statement saying that you now use your previous name for everything.

Want to travel using your married name soon?

Planning a trip and need your married name added to your passport quickly? Here’s what you’ll be needing:

  • If you need to travel using your new name soon, you should fill out a PD2 Form (post-dated form) and submit it with your application. If you want to find out more, and if you wish to download the form yourself, go to the UK Government website.

Changing the spelling of your name, or changing the order it appears?

Need to change the spelling of your name on your passport? You’ll need to present the following to the passport office:

  • One document that confirms the name currently being used.
  • One document that confirms each name change you have undergone.

Changing your child’s name on their passport?

If you’re planning on changing your child’s name on their passport, there are three things you’ll need:

  • A signed statement, coming from everyone who currently has parental responsibility for the child, which states that all parties offer permission for the name change to take place or a court order that allows the name to be changed.
  • One piece of evidence regarding the child’s previous name.
  • One piece of evidence that corroborates all name changes, past and present.

Changing your name after gender reassignment?

If you’ve recently undergone gender reassignment, you will need to change your name on your passport. Here’s what you’re going to need to provide:

  • A Gender Recognition Certificate for a revised birth certificate.

OR

  • A message from a GP, doctor, or another relevant medical consultant that confirms that your gender reassignment will be permanent.
  • A document that confirms the name you have previously used.
  • A document that confirms any previous name changes that you have undergone.

Any other reason?

There are any number of reasons you may wish to change your name on your passport. If you want to do so for a reason other than the ones listed above, you will need:

  • At least one document that confirms your current name.
  • At least one document that confirms every name change that has taken place.
Official discussing documents with an applicant next to two British passports.

Passport photos – a crucial part of any application!

As you can see, there are only 2 (two) pieces of supporting documentation that are needed for all passport applications. Arguably the most important of these is your passport-style photos. The biometric information they carry is what makes your passport a valid ID, so it’s very important to get this right. Luckily, Passport Photo Online can dramatically simplify this process for you, by taking your photos on your phone and uploading them to the website, where our AI software will reformat the images to make sure that they fit the official requirements for UK passports. There’s plenty of advantages to using this system, take a look:

  • We can guarantee that the passport authorities will accept your photo. In the unlikely event that your passport application gets turned down by the Passport Office because the photo we made for you was unsuitable, then we pledge to refund you for 200% of your initial cost. Yeah, you read that right – 200%!
  • The system is extremely flexible. Our app is internet-based, so you have the ability to utilise all of PPO’s excellent facilities wherever you need it! You can even get your passport photo taken from the comfort of your home. Anyone can take a perfect picture in seconds with Passport Photo Online!
  • There’s room for retakes and do-overs. We get it. No matter how careful you are, there’s always a chance you won’t like the photo you take. Luckily, you can take and upload as many photos as you need to, free of charge. 
  • You can be certain that you will get a professional quality photo every time. Passport Photo Online’s AI software, working in tandem with a crack team of human inspectors, means you can apply with confidence. We know passport photos, and we know what the passport authorities want. You can therefore trust us to give you accurate feedback on your pictures until there’s nothing left to change.
  • You can save a lot of money. Passport Photo Online can save you up to 54% on your passport photos. That’s a huge saving, particularly if you’re planning on buying passport photos for more than one person.

Summing up

As you can see, it’s really easy to figure out the supporting documents needed for your UK passport application. It’s very important that you get this right, though, otherwise, your application will be denied. Using our guide, in tandem with Governmental sources, you can quickly and easily prepare the correct documentation, and add it to your application for the passport office to check. Remember, send originals, not copies! Once that’s all sorted, all you have to do is wait. Soon, you’ll receive your new passport, ready to carry you off on your next international adventure.

FAQs

What documents do I need for a passport in the UK?

The documents you will need to submit for your UK passport application will largely depend on a number of factors relevant to your personal situation, for example, your age, whether or not you’ve held a passport before or the nature of a name change you plan to make. This makes it important to do your research to ensure you send the right documents in so your application will be accepted. Using our article, you can find the supporting documents appropriate to your situation, but we always recommend checking the UK Government website as well, to get the most up-to-date information.

What supporting documents do I need for the UK passport 1 Week Fast Track system?

The documents you need to submit for the 1 (one) Week Fast Track service are no different to those you’d need for any other passport application. Just do your research and you’ll have the right articles prepared in no time!

How long will it take for supporting documents to be returned?

At the time of writing, your supporting documents should be delivered back to you around 2-3 (two-three) weeks after your new passport has arrived.

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