UK passport renewal overseas as a British expat part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
Before introducing this article, if you are interested in our core services which are expat financial, insurance and mortgages, you can contact me here.
The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.
In this article, we will discuss how you can renew your UK passport while you are living outside of the UK (expat in other countries). Along with that, we will also talk about how you can apply for a British passport as a foreigner and other important information related to it.
Let us start with knowing about the process of UK passport renewal from abroad, which is the main topic for today.
Renewing British passport from abroad:
British citizens who are living abroad need to renew their passports and not everyone might be familiar with the process.
In general, most of the people who renew their passports from outside of the country go there for employment compared to other purposes.
You might also want to get a new passport or if you want to report any changes in your personal life such as follows:
- If your name has changed
- If your gender has changed
- If you have altered your appearance, which makes you unrecognizable from the photo in your passport
You will not be required to apply for a new passport under any of the following circumstances.
- Change in the phone number
- Change in place of residence
- Change in employment
- Change in appearance by growing a beard or opting for a new hairstyle
- If you are married or divorced
- If you become a doctor or professor and/or your name title has changed
- If you become a dual citizen
- If you leave the UK as an expat
While renewing a British passport, an individual is required to complete some physical application forms and submit them to Her Majesty’s Passport Office, and this used to be the mainstream process until recently.
However, things have changed now as individuals can complete this process online, which is considered to be easy than it used to be.
Even though the process seems simple, some obstacles have been described in this article.
As you all know, COVID-19 is one of the main reasons for the administrative delay all over the world. Apart from that, we have listed some of the general hurdles that were in existence before the pandemic outbreak.
Let us have a look at the common obstacles faced by people while applying for the renewal of UK passports online.
- Applications cannot be saved. You should make sure that you have all the necessary documents and information to complete the process within a couple of days.
If you fail to do so, then you might have to start the online application process again from the beginning.
To save time, you can do a practice application, and by doing so, you will know what you require to complete the application.
- A digital photo is to be submitted online, which should satisfy all the rules to be considered as an appropriate photo for the application.
The photo needs to be a color image with a perfect focus on your face, and the photo should be 750 pixels high and 600 pixels wide.
The file size of the photo should be between 50KB and 10MB, and it strictly should not be less/more than this size.
Your face image in the photo should be at least 29mm and must not exceed 34mm.
The overall dimensions of the photo should be 45mm from top to bottom and 35mm from left to right.
The image should have been taken recently, meaning it should not be more than a month old.
In the photo, you should be looking directly towards the camera.
Your face should be kept straight, the mouth must be closed, and your eyes must be opened completely.
Your face must be visible, and it should not be covered (even by your hair).
Your head should not be covered with anything unless it is for medical or religious purposes.
Photo should not have shadows.
You should not wear any sunglasses or glasses with tinted lenses.
If you wear ordinary glasses, then make sure that your eyes are perfectly visible, and the lenses do not cause glare or reflection.
- After applying for renewal, you will be asked to provide your current passport.
At this time, you should remember that you might have to wait for several months without a passport, and therefore, you should find an alternative ID for use during this period.
- A passport is a very important document, and it should be handled with an immense amount of care, especially while sending it abroad.
Therefore, you always make use of a renowned courier service and opt for insurance in case of loss.
Requirements – You will have to provide your current passport, a full-color copy of all other uncancelled passports belonging to you, another country passport (if you are a dual citizen), your identity documents, and application forms (duly completed and signed).
As for identity proof, there are various types of documents that can be provided.
The Home Office requires at least one document with photo identity along with one document as residence proof (name and/or address accurately within the past 12 months) while renewing your passport.
The list of documents that can be provided for identity proof during the process of passport renewal is as follows:
- British Passport (for renewal)
- Non-British uncancelled passport
- National Identity Card or anything similar with a photocopy
- Visa/Residence Permit or a color photocopy
- Tax Record (such as letter obtained from the tax authority)
- Educational documents (such as school reports)
- Employment-related documents (such as an official letter obtained from the employer)
- A letter obtained from a central, regional, or local government department
- Medial Card or Health Card
- Voter card
- Immigration Documents
There might be some additional requirements when applying for children under certain circumstances such as follows.
- If the child who is applying is subject to a court order regarding their care.
- If the child who is applying is subject to a court order, which offers/removes any parental responsibilities or parental rights.
- If the child who is applying is subject to a court order that restricts the child from the country of residence
In any of the above-mentioned cases, the court order should be submitted to the passport office while applying.
If the child is being cared for by the social services, then the Home Office needs a letter obtained from the Director of Social Services (or any other equivalent authority).
This letter should confirm that the social services have the necessary parental responsibility regarding the child and have the necessary court order to prove this.
If the person who is applying on behalf of the child does not have parental authority, then any of the following documents will be required additionally.
- A statutory declaration form, which describes the reason why you are applying instead of a parent. It should also mention whether the child has anyone with parental responsibility and how they are related to the child.
While providing this declaration, you will have to provide all the necessary supporting documentation and evidence supporting the declaration.
- If you are a testamentary guardian of the child, then you will have to submit documentary evidence.
This evidence should ensure that you are appointed as the testamentary guardian of the child and must be included along with a copy of the will and death certificate of parents/guardians.
- You should confirm whether any other person has the parental responsibility of the child and there are court orders related to it, where you should include the court orders as well.
It has been described in the government webpage that the renewal application might take up to ten weeks, yet keeping the COVID-19 scenario in mind, you might even be prepared for a delay in obtaining it.
Any person can renew their passport without having to wait until their passport expires.
Mostly, the passport can be renewed as earlier as six months before the expiry of the current passport with respect to the country from where you are trying to renew that passport or the country you are trying to visit.
Some countries such as Brazil, Turkey, Israel, Tunisia, etc., need you to have at least six months of validity on your passport when you are residing there.
Usually, the individuals who are applying for a passport while staying abroad are required to pay a standard passport fee and an extra courier fee.
The courier fee will vary depending on the country from where you are applying, whereas the standard adult passport/renewal fee is £75.50 for a 34-page passport and £85.50 for a 50-page passport.
For children, it costs £49 for a 34-page passport and £59 for a 50-page passport, and children must be under the age of 16 years.
When you apply with the help of paper forms the prices can be higher than those mentioned above, and the prices above are for applying online.
The payment can be made with the help of a cheque, which can be included along with the application forms and documents, or else, you can make a payment via the secure government website.
If you have any queries regarding the process of passport renewal, you can call the passport advice at +44(0)3002220000, which is available from 8 AM to 8 PM (UK time) from Monday to Friday and 9 AM to 5:30 PM (UK time) on weekends and public holidays.
Emergency Passport – In most cases, people will be needing their passport during the time they wait for the renewed passport, and in such cases, they should obtain an emergency passport known as Emergency Travel Document.
Only the people who meet the following conditions can apply for an emergency passport.
- People of British nationality
- Living outside of the UK
- If the passport has been:
- Recently expired
- Is taken by HM Passport Office
- Is taken by a foreign embassy
- You need a passport to travel during the time of your passport’s renewal or replacement.
- You can provide the information related to your travel such as booking confirmations or concisely written travel plans (if not booked ahead).
With the help of an emergency passport, you will be allowed to travel through five countries before reaching your destination country.
If you are living in some other country, you can also use it to return to the country of residence from where you will be applying.
All your travel plans such as countries and dates will be printed on your emergency travel document, and in case you wish to change any information presented in that, you will have to apply for a new emergency travel document.
You can apply for an emergency travel document online, and you will be required to pay a fee of £100, which is non-refundable.
This fee can either be paid during the process of online application or else you will be asked to pay over the phone.
When you apply for this online, you will have to visit the British embassy, consulate, or high commission nearest to your location.
However, you will be informed after the submission of the application regarding whether or not you have to attend.
Usually, the travel document will be ready for you within two days after you apply for it online. As mentioned earlier, it might be delayed because of the COVID-19 situation.
The process of receiving your travel document can also be late under the following circumstances.
- If it has been applied for a child under the age of 16 years.
- If the payment has not been made.
- If all the necessary supporting documentation has been provided.
- If the information the documents is not enough or inaccurate.
You can also apply for an emergency travel document on behalf of someone else if they are a British citizen or British national living overseas.
Nonetheless, that person should be able to collect their travel document in person by going to a Consulate, Embassy, or High Commission in their country of residence.
In case you are applying on behalf of a child under the age of 16 years, then both the parents of that child may have to attend along with them, and they will be required to sign a consent letter.