Applying for a British Passport online: And save money and time.

Applying for a British passport online can save you time and at least £30.

British Passport can be applied online and not only it makes it easy to apply from the comfort of your settee but it also saves you time and money. How? Keep reading.

How to apply: applying online is easy. All you have to do is to go online https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport

And follow the online instructions.

But before you start your passport application, keep the following handy;

a. Your old British passport

b. 1 passport digital photo (will come to it a bit later).

c. credit or debit card to pay the passport fee.

d. your mobile number and email address.

Including your mobile number and email address will keep you informed about your passport application progress from the HMPO.

e. And the details of the person who can countersign your passport application.

Applying online saves you money. It saves you around £30 in fees and postage when you apply for your UK passport online compared to applying on the form collected for the Post Office. Currently, the difference between the prices for applying for a normal adult British passport (34 pages) or renewing it costs as follows;

Online                              Applying on the paper form

Adult £75.50                       £85

Child under 16 £49           £58.50

As you can see, applying online saves you £9.50 straightaway.

You can take your own passport photos: Another advantage of applying your passport online is that you can take your own passport photos and upload the digital copy with your application from. Passport photos can cost anything between £6 and £10. And the best thing is that when you take your own digital passport photos, you can decide which one to select and upload!  So, no more dull passport photos!

Postage cost: One more benefit of applying UK passport is that you will be submitting the form online and hence no need to send it by post. The only cost would that you incur would be the cost of sending your old passport or the birth certificate to HMSO. Sending your documents back to you is free once they have been checked. Though the latter only applies if you are happy to have your documents back by normal post. If you want your checked documents back by secure post, you have to include the cost of posting. The Passport Office sends your new passport free of cost by secure post though.

Taking a passport photo: there are certain rules which photos will be accepted and which will not. Currently the Passport Office requires that the photo will be;

a. not older than a month

b. taken against a plain white or light background

c. there is no shadow cast on your face or on the background

d. your face is not concealed, does not have any head covering such as hat etc unless your covering is on religious ground.

e. the photos size has to be at least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall and the photo size must not be less than 50KB or more than 10MB. Generally, a smart mobile phone having a camera of about 6 and over megapixels should satisfy all the photo size requirements.

Further information regarding British passport photos is available on

https://www.gov.uk/photos-for-passports

The photo rules may be relaxed if the photo is of a baby or children under the age of 6. For example, they are allowed not to be looking at the camera.

Any relatively new mobile phone will take a digital photo eligible to submit as your passport photo. However, if you cannot take the photo or not sure what to do, you can always go to a photo booth that will take your photo and generate a code that you can use to upload that photo as your passport photo. Generally, the code is printed on the back of your digital photo which you can enter online but not all photo booths will have this feature. And moreover, you have to pay for the photos if using the photo booth.

Countersigning: Once you have filled out the required information and uploaded your passport photo, it is time to decide who can countersign your passport application form. Generally, children under 12, and adults who are applying for their first British passports, have to be countersigned. Adults also don’t need to have their application for renewal of the passport countersigned unless their face has changed significantly since their last application.

Who can countersign the British passport application and who should you ask?

There is a whole list of occupations and professionals who can countersign your application. The list is available at https://www.gov.uk/confirm-identity-online-for-passport-application

The list includes teachers, civil servants to ministers of religion. Before entering their details as someone who will countersign your application, make sure you have asked for their permission. You will need to enter their full name and email.

Once you have paid the passport fee and submitted the application, your countersignatory receives an email and is asked to identify you. The countersignatory is asked to fill out their occupation, their work address, and has to confirm some details about you. Once that is submitted, your application for the British passport is now complete to process. The passport office now asks you to send your documents. In most cases, it will be your old passport or birth certificate. Make sure you send it securely so you can track it online.

The waiting begins: generally, they say it might take up to 10 weeks to have your new passport issued.  However, if your application is straightforward, you might be able to receive your newly issued passport within two weeks.

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