If you happen to be a UK citizen because you were born there, or because you naturalized there, or because you have or had a British father or mother, you are then considered a UK citizen and you have the right to a passport from the UK.
If you have an expired UK passport, it can be renewed quickly within 1 year of the expiration date. It can also be renewed whenever the visa stamp pages of the passport become full. As well, if your UK passport has been lost or has been stolen, it can be replaced as needed.
If you were born in the United Kingdom or if one or both parents was a full British citizen when you were born, but you have never had a UK passport, you can still apply for a first UK passport at any time. Please note that the UK allows dual citizenship, as does the United States, so you may legally hold both an American and a British passport.
Download UK Passport Application
UK Passport Fees and Waiting Times
Because the regional processing center in Washington DC has been closed and all passport applications are now centrally processed in the UK, processing times have gone up significantly for applications from the USA, from 3 to 4 weeks up to a current time of 6 to 8 weeks or even 9 weeks. Seeing that it is not possible to speed up your application, you should wait to book your travel arrangements until you are in possession of your passport.
Currently, application fees for all UK Passports are as follows:
|Renewal||Lost or Stolen||First|
|Extra 12 visa pages||+$50||+$50||+$50|
Who is Eligible for a British Passport?
British nationality law has undergone several changes in the last decades, modifying British citizenship with a view to eventually allowing those born in the UK to claim UK citizenship, or those who have a British parent when born abroad. There are exceptions to this that come from rules from when the British Empire had subjects in colonies around the world. These exceptions make knowing who is currently a British citizen a little tricky. Whether you are a UK citizen depends on a couple of factors as outlined below:
|Born before Jan 1, 1983||Born Jan 1, 1983 to Jun 30, 2006||Born Jul 1, 2006 and after|
|Born in UK|
|Born outside UK to British Mom|
|Born outside UK to British Dad, parents married|
|Born outside UK to British Dad, parents never married||NOW ELIGIBLE|
Please note that British citizenship is generally not inheritable through a grandparent and is only available to the first generation born abroad. There are some exceptions, however, so if you are uncertain if you are a UK citizen please contact us at 1-866-760-2623.
As mentioned above, UK passport applications from the USA are no longer processed at the former regional processing center in Washington DC. They are now processed in Durham, United Kingdom along with all other overseas applications. Processing times have doubled as a result. Application fees, according to the British government, have been lowered due to the cost savings as a result of centralizing the processing of passport applications in one main center.
What Documents Will You Need to Renew or Get Your First UK Passport?
Which documents you will need to include with your UK passport application from the USA will depend on several factors: whether you are applying for your first passport; whether it is a renewal; whether you are replacing a lost or stolen passport; or whether your old passport was issued before the latest maroon-covered UK passport came into effect.
Renewing a British with a maroon cover
- Your most recent UK Passport
- 2 UK Passport photos
- All necessary application forms, fully completed
- The passport fee
First British passport, last UK passport lost or stolen, or last British passport with black cover
- Your original, long-form Birth Certificate
- Your original American or other Passport
- British parent's original long-form birth certificate if born outside UK after 1983
- Your parents' marriage certificate if only father was British
- Your parent's original UK passport, if available
- 2 UK passport photos
- All necessary application forms, fully completed
- Passport fee
How to Apply for your Child's British passport
Any minor under the age of 16 must have their parent’s written permission in order to apply for a UK Passport. Both custodial parents must provide written consent in order for the passport to be issued. As well, the forms themselves must be completed by one of the parents. The preference is for the child’s father to fill out the application forms.
Please remember that all UK Passport applications for minors must have the countersignatory section completed in order for the parent’s identity to be verified.
UK Passport Photo Requirements
You are required to submit 2 identical UK Passport Photos with each application. Please ensure that your Passport Photos meet the following requirements in order to avoid delays, (caused by having to submit new photos), to your application:
- They must be professionally printed
- They must be in colour
- They must have a plain white or light gray background
- They must have been taken within 30 days
- The photo size must be 35 - 45mm
- The size of the face in the photo must be 29 - 34mm from chin to the top of the hair
- The subject must be facing the camera and wearing a neutral express, no smiling
- The subject's eyes must be open and not obstructed - by glass frames, hair, or hats.
What is a UK Passport Countersignatory?
A Countersignatory is someone that signs your passport and photo acting as a guarantor for your UK Passport application. What this means is that they verify that the information you are providing on your application is accurate and truthful. The person who acts as your Countersignatory must provide contact details so that Her Majesty’s Passport Office can contact them if necessary. Please note that your Countersignatory cannot be related to you, cannot live at your house, and cannot be an employee of the UK Passport Office.
The following professions are among those that can act as Countersignatories for your UK Passport application:
- airline pilot
- articled clerk of a limited company
- assurance agent of recognised company
- bank/building society official
- chairman/director of limited company
- commissioner of oaths
- councillor - eg local or county
- civil servant (permanent), but not someone who works for Her Majesty’s Passport Office
- director/manager of a VAT-registered charity
- director/manager/personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
- engineer - with professional qualifications
- financial services intermediary - eg a stockbroker or insurance broker
- fire service official
- funeral director
- insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
- Justice of the Peace
- legal secretary - fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs
- licensee of public house
- local government officer
- manager/personnel officer of a limited company
- member, associate or fellow of a professional body
- Member of Parliament
- Merchant Navy officer
- minister of a recognised religion - including Christian Science
- nurse - RGN or RMN
- officer of the armed services
- paralegal - certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals
- person with honours - eg an OBE or MBE
- photographer - professional
- police officer
- Post Office official
- president/secretary of a recognised organisation
- Salvation Army officer
- social worker
- teacher, lecturer
- trade union officer
- travel agent - qualified
- valuer or auctioneer - fellows and associate members of the incorporated society
- Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers
Born outside the UK to an English, Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish Mother before 1983
Until January 1st, 1983, UK citizenship could only be passed on by a British father to his legitimate children. Starting on Jan 1, 1983, all children born in the UK automatically became UK citizens. Children born outside the United Kingdom whose mother was British, but whose father was not British, could become UK citizens and were not eligible for a British Passport.
Nowadays, if you were born outside the UK to a British mother and a non-British father, you can apply to register as a British citizen.
Before you can apply for a UK Passport, if you find yourself in these circumstances, you must register as a British citizen. This process includes swearing an oath of loyalty to the Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, at the British diplomatic mission (High Commission, Embassy or Consulate) nearest to your residence. Having obtained the Certificate of Registration, you may then apply for a UK Passport.
You can expect the full process of registering as a UK citizen and applying for a UK Passport to take 4 to 8 months to complete.
Please see our page, Registration as a British Citizen, for more information.
Living and Working in the UK once you have your passport
Once you get your UK Passport, and you want to move to the United Kingdom, you must first apply for a National Insurance Number, (NIN). This is equivalent to a Social Security Number in the USA and enables you to seek employment and to be eligible receive government services in the UK.
To obtain an NIN you will have to undergo an interview once in Britain where you must have on hand your UK passport and must give the reasons why you need an NIN, or National Insurance Number. Please note that you can start working in the United Kingdom without an NIN, but you will need to obtain one as soon as possible and provide it to your employer as soon as you obtain it.
To get more information on how to apply for a National Insurance Number in the UK, please go to this link: https://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ni/intro/number.htm
Other Types of UK Passports
A further category of a British citizen eligible to hold a UK Passport is a British Protected Person. This is someone born in a former British colony who has been granted Protected Person status by the British government because of conflict or strife in their home country. A British Protected Person is not a British citizen but is able to travel to the UK on a special UK Passport known as a British Protected Person Passport.
The application process to renew a British Protected Person Passport is similar to that shown above but you must prove your status as a Protected Person with the appropriate document. Please go to the following link for more information: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213951/form-c1-notes.pdf
Please note that if you become a naturalized citizen of a third country, like the USA, you are no longer eligible for British Protected Person status.