Did you know that you can now renew your UK passport completely online?
It’s something we found out recently when Mr Holiday Addict’s passport expired back in December. Rather than faff about with paper forms and trips to the Post Office, this time the renewal was done in about 10 minutes. And I took the passport photo myself. All on a smartphone with no need to even open the laptop.
The shiny new passport arrived 10 days after the application went in. For ease of service, I can’t knock it at all.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Your old passport
A card for online payment
A digital camera or smartphone
Someone to take the picture for you (selfies won’t cut it)
A white or pale grey surface to be the backdrop for your photo.
Here’s what to do:
Work out where you’ll be taking your photo. As you go through the online application, you’ll be given really specific guidance to follow when it gets to the photo stage, but it will help if you’re already prepared. Find a suitable background and make sure there is good lighting in the room. A picture with shadows is not acceptable and you might need to use the flash on your camera or phone. Have a practice and when you think you’ve got it sussed, start your application.
Click apply now and follow the steps. You’ll be inputting contact details and information from your existing passport as you go through the process.
When you get to the photo submission part, either upload a photo (you can do this all on your phone), or take a new one following the prompts. When you’re happy that you’ve uploaded something suitable, the application programme will do a quick first check. If you get a tick, chances are you’re good to go. Note that this isn’t an absolute confirmation that your photo has been approved – a more detailed check will follow once your whole application goes through, and they may request another photo later.
Continue with the steps until completion, including card payment and filling in a valid email address that you know you’ll be checking regularly. The Passport Office will send updates on your application status via email, so don’t use a phoney email or one that is usually full of spam – you don’t want to miss an email that needs your attention as it could delay the issue of your passport.
At the end of your application, you’ll be given a reference number and the address of the Passport Office to return your old passport to. You’ll be instructed to include the reference number on the envelope when you post it back. This means your old passport gets linked with your application at the Passport Office.
You don’t need to stick a note in with it or anything else, but they won’t process your application until they receive your old passport, so get it sent as soon as you can. I would suggest that it’s a good idea to post it back recorded delivery to avoid any mishaps.
And that’s it! The most difficult bit is getting your photo right – but if I can do it on a phone in my bedroom, you can too! If you’re interested, I took Mr Holiday Addict’s pic against the side of a white Ikea Malm wardrobe. It was perfect!
If your application is approved, you’ll get an email telling you so. And you’ll get another to inform you that your new passport has been finished and is on its way. When you get this email, be on the lookout for the post. Mr Holiday Addict’s passport just landed on the doorstep which was a surprise because I assumed it would need to be signed for.
The old passport also came back the same day as the new one in a different envelope with the corner snipped off.
All that was left for him to do was sign the new one and hand it over to me to go for safe keeping with the rest of our passports, ready for our next flight!
I’m not sure what the communication would be if they needed you to send another photo, but based on everything else we experienced, I’m sure it would be pretty straightforward to follow.
A standard UK passport renewal costs £72.50 regardless of whether you apply online or by post.
If you apply by post and wish to use the Post Office Check and Send service, expect to pay an additional £9.75 bringing the total payable to £82.25
If you need a passport urgently, you can use the 1 day Premium service (£128), or the 1 week fast track (£103).
Visit the passport section of gov.uk for all the official info you’ll need.