How to Get a Passport for Baby
Many new parents are unsure how to to get passports for babies, but the process isn't as complicated as you might assume. Your little one needs a passport no matter how dinky he or she is when they travel overseas for the first time. Check out our comprehensive guide on travelling with a baby, and don't forget to book your children's travel insurance before your holiday. Happily, applying for a British passport for baby is a straightforward process, as long as you follow the rules!
Who can apply?
You can apply for a British passport for your baby as long as you have parental responsibility for them and they are eligible (i.e. of British nationality). If you have complicated circumstances, then the government website provides detailed guidance.
How much does a baby passport cost?
It currently costs £49 to apply for a British passport for a baby online or by post, and £55.75 if you use the Passport Check and Send service at the Post Office. The passport will be valid for five years.
How can I apply for my baby's first passport?
Parents can apply online for a baby's first passport, collect an application form from the Post Office or phone the Passport Adviceline and request a form in the post. With an online application you complete the details online but will still need to print the form off and post it traditionally.
What paperwork will I need to apply for a passport for a baby?
You will need to provide your baby's original birth certificate to prove their identity and to confirm that they are eligible for a British passport. You will also need to send two photographs of your child, along with your own passport details in the relevant section of the application form.
Where do I get the photographs taken?
The easiest and best way to get your baby's passport photos is to go to a local photographer, camera shop or pharmacy that offers the service. They will simply nestle your baby on a plain bean bag and do their thing. The advantage of getting a pro to do the deed is that they know exactly what the passport office is looking for.
Alternatively, you can take the photos yourself on a digital camera and use an online converter service to have them made into passport photos. Most people do not even attempt to use a photo booth with a baby! Newborn passports are especially complicated, leave the photography to the professionals to be sure.
There are strict rules when it comes to photos for passports - if you ignore them then your application will be returned unprocessed and you'll have to start all over again. Your two pictures must be identical, measure 45mm high by 35mm wide (standard photo booth size) and not be cut from a larger picture.
They must be professional quality, clear and in focus, in colour on plain photo paper with no border, and taken within the last month. The background needs to be plain cream or light grey and the photographs should have no creases, tears or marks (except for a counter signature on the back). They must also have not been altered using computer software.
The photos need to be a close-up of your baby's full head and upper shoulders, contain no other objects or people (including supporting hands) and be in clear contrast to the background. The rules are slightly more relaxed for young children than for older kids and adults so that children under six do not need to have a neutral expression or be looking directly at the camera. Babies under one don't have to have their eyes open, so a sleeping baby is fine. However, they should not be using a dummy or holding a toy.
When posting your baby's passport application, the photos must be separated from each other and not attached to the application form.
Who has to sign the photos and application form?
Your baby's passport application must be completed and signed by an adult with parental responsibility for the baby, and also countersigned by someone who can confirm that the other adult has parental responsibility. This person must have known you for at least two years, be able to identify you and be a person of good standing or recognised profession. Someone like your nursery manager, a teacher, doctor or dentist is suitable. They must live in the UK and have a current British or Irish passport. Remember, they can't be a close relative, in a relationship with you or living at the same address.
Once you've completed your baby's passport form and printed if off if necessary, the counter signatory needs to check and sign the form and write on the back of one of the photos "I certify that this is a true likeness of [your baby's name]."
What happens next?
Even if you apply online you'll still need to post the application, photos and supporting docs to the address on the form, as with the paper version. Some people opt to pay slightly more and use the Passport Check and Send service at their local post office. This reduces the chance of your baby's application being rejected due to something silly like an unsuitable photo or the wrong fee being paid.
You can track your application online (immediately if you apply online and after three weeks if you apply by post) and your baby's passport will be posted to you when it's ready. It will be sent via Royal Mail recorded delivery or by courier.
How long will it take?
It should take three weeks to get a passport for a baby under the standard service if you have completed the form properly and sent the correct documents. It's always worth allowing a couple of months before your date of travel in case of any delays though. If you need to take your baby overseas at short notice, there is a fast track service available for an additional fee.
What happens to my baby's birth certificate?
Your original supporting documents will be returned to you by normal post, or secure delivery if you pay an extra £3.
Summary: How do you get a British passport for a baby?
- 1. Apply online or collect an application form at the Post Office.
- 2. Provide the baby's birth certificate and two photographs with the application.
- 3. Pay the £49 application fee.
- 4. Track the status of the application online.
If you found this post on getting a passport for a baby helpful, you may want to read more of our Before You Go articles. Also check out our travel blog for additional inspiration and travel tips to make your holidays hassle-free!
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