As a family who loves to travel, we wasted little time in applying for our daughters’ passports when they were born. Both started their travels early, going abroad when they were just weeks old. As such it means we have a bit of experience when it comes to applying for a child passport – especially if you want to get it in a hurry (as we did). I thought it would be useful to share some of information and tips we learnt along the way (and some of the pitfalls too).
– Pick the form up from the post office. Get at least two in case you make a mistake.
– You are allowed to make a maximum of three character mistakes on a form which are clearly crossed out and initialled.
– Follow the guide carefully when filling out the form and use black ink.
– Do not send photocopies of the documents. You need the original birth certificate.
– Always get the Post Office to do a ‘Check and Send‘. It ensures the application has been correctly filled out and the photos and documents are all correct. It costs £9.75 which includes postage via special delivery.
– You need a birth certificate to apply for a passport but not the free one. It’s the one you pay for when you register the birth. The correct one should have the parents’ names and
addresses on. We only discovered this after my husband arrived at the London passport office and was told he had taken the wrong birth certificate. He wasn’t too pleased at having to come back home. Fortunately, they allowed him to rebook an appointment later that day.
– If your child is under one year old they can have their eyes closed. So don’t worry if your sleepy baby can’t be woken up. I got mine done at Snappy Snaps whose staff seem up-to-date with the regulations needed. With my newborn, she was photographed lying down.
– Like an adult passport, you need to get a counter signature by a professional such as a lawyer, doctor, account or teacher. It needs to be done in black ink.
– It can take up to three weeks to receive the passport. If you are applying in summer it may take longer (up to six weeks) if doing it by post.
– The passport lasts for 5 years
– Don’t leave getting a new one until the expiry date. Some countries require six months to be left on your passport to be allowed in.
Need A Passport Quickly?
– If you want to ensure your child passport arrives in time for your holiday (especially if applying during peak summer season), you can make an appointment at one of the passport offices.
– There are only seven passport offices In the country: Belfast, Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport and Peterborough. In my eldest daughter’s case the London one was full so we had to go to Peterborough.
– Make an appointment in advance for a date after you have registered the birth. We had to wait a couple of weeks to get an appointment to register our daughter. Once we booked the birth registration date, we made the passport appointment. They book up early so you need to be organised.
– It will take approximately one week (quickest) to get the passport after you have been to the passport office, using the 1 week Fast Track service. It will be posted to you and will need somebody to sign for it.
– As far as I know, the 1 day Premium Service is not possible with a child passport.
For further information about applying for a child’s passport, visit the Government website.
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