Step by Step: British Passport Essentials for the First Time Applicant

by Jules on November 5, 2013

Applying for your first passport can be a daunting experience and there are a number of key documents that need to be produced and questions that need to be answered before your application is approved.

Here is a detailed look at what is involved and a step by step guide on applying for a British passport.


If you were born in the UK you should in most circumstances be automatically eligible to apply for British passport. If you were born in another country then there are some rules in place that allow you to apply for a passport provided you meet the requirements stipulated by the UK Border Agency.

If you are over 18 years of age and have been living in the UK for at least five years, or three if you married a British citizen, then you should be able to apply for naturalisation using application form AN, which is the first step to gaining a British passport if you do not automatically qualify.

Applying for a British passport

Provided you are over the age of 16 and either a British citizen by birth, a British subject, a British National, a Protected person or a British overseas territories citizen, you can apply for a 10 year adult passport.

If you are applying for a passport for the very first time, you will be expected to attend a face to face interview with the Identity and Passport Services so that they can verify your information and circumstances in person.

Applications from abroad

It may be that you are a UK citizen currently living abroad and if this is the case, it is worth remembering that if you are seeking a first-time passport or renewing a previously expired one, you can use a UK passport renewal service to assist you and make the process easier and you will need a valid UK address where the passport can be sent out to.

Overseas application appointments can be made by telephone in view of the fact that you are currently abroad but ask your advisor to clarify the process in greater detail.

Information required

To make a successful passport application you will have to supply a number of supporting documents.

The passport office will need to see your original birth certificate and if your name has changed, a copy of the marriage certificate or legal paperwork if you changed your name by deed poll.

Your passport application has to be supported by someone over the age of 18 who currently holds a British or Irish passport and is prepared to provide their own passport number and declare that they have known you for at least 2 years.

The other condition is that this person needs to be of good standing in the community and has a profession such as doctor or lawyer in order to be considered acceptable.

You will also need to supply two passport-sized photographs and arrange for the person who is countersigning your application to sign the back of one of these photographs, verifying that the picture is of you and a true-likeness.

Making the application

A key area where delays can occur is if the application is not correctly completed or some information is missing.

A passport checking service will know what to look for and be able to ensure that your application is not delayed by verifying the details in the same way that a person from the passport office will do.

A simple mistake can result in a delay of several weeks or even result in the application being rejected, so checking the application in detail is a very good idea, especially if you are working to a deadline and cannot afford to wait for your new passport.

If you follow this essential guide and provide all the correct information with guidance where needed, you should be able to secure your British passport with the minimum of fuss.

Jermaine Easterwood is a lifetime traveler. He enjoys blogging about the details required to travel.

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