Apply for a UK Passport from the United States
As a British man, woman or child that resides in the USA as a citizen or green card holder you may need to renew your British passport or even obtain one for the first time. You will probably be thinking about contacting the British Embassy in Washington to get the process started as soon as possible. Well before you start let me stop you wasting your time and energy. Things have changed dramatically in the last few years and the UK have stepped into the 21st century.
Long gone are the big paper applications. Now all UK passport applications go directly to the UK. The fee is paid in Sterling online by Visa or Mastercard debit, electron or credit card. They will accept no other form of payment. Flexible they are not ! They even advise on their website that you must find a friend if you do not have a credit/debit card of your own.
Before you make your payment however, you have to log in to the UK website and create your account. You will need certain information so it’s important to have all of this in front of you. Your passport, Birth certificate, information about your parents etc.
Once you have created an account you have 72 hrs to complete the form online otherwise you lose it and have to start again. Once you get to the end and make the payment there is no going back. You have 90 days in which to send all your documentation to the UK. If you are missing documents then the UK government will contact you and ask for them so you need to make sure you have all the requirements in your envelope before you send it.
If all of this sounds complicated that’s because it is. Nothing is very straight forward when renewing a UK passport. Just when you think you have all the requirements, you pay the fee and enter the ‘no going back’ phase only to find they are asking for something you don’t have.
This can quickly turn into a bit of a nightmare. Especially if you need your birth certificate and have to order it from the UK or your parent’s marriage certificate. When this happens it’s easy to want to give up. Try to persevere because, remember, out of 219 countries in the world a UK passport holder can enter 173 of them and is ranked among top passports to hold along with Finnish and Swedish.
It’s worth sticking with it. The UK adult passport is valid for 10 years and really doesn’t take that long to get once you have submitted your application and supporting documents.
So, if you are, as Sting once sang, an Englishman in New York, or anywhere else in the US for that matter, and need to renew or apply for your UK passport for the first time then don’t delay !
Updated for 2020