How long it takes to renew a UK passport, cost and if you can do it early

Since the UK officially left the European Union after Brexit, it has been more difficult for Britons to travel to the 27 countries remaining in the EU.

Regulations have since tightened in the wake of Brexit, as British passport holders wishing to travel to EU countries are treated as non-EU nationals.

This means stricter rules for British passport holders compared to their European neighbours.

Previously, when the UK was a member of the EU, British passports remained valid up to and including their expiry date for travel to other EU countries.

But since Brexit, this time period has been shortened, meaning your passport must be valid up to three months before the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting.

In case this applies to you – or if you simply want to know how to renew your UK passport – here’s how you can apply.

How to apply for a passport

For most travellers the easiest way to get a new passport is to apply online. This process involves a sequence of steps:

  1. Get a digital passport photo
  2. Provide application details
  3. Find out what documents you need to send
  4. Pay for your passport (A standard passport is £75.50 for an adult, and £49 for a child)
  5. If required, get someone to confirm your identity

Alternatively, if you do not have access to the internet, you can apply by the postal service and pick up passport application forms from your local Post Office.

But be warned — postal passport applications typically take longer to be processed.

Who can sign for my passport?

When applying, the Government will sometimes require a countersignature to confirm your identity.

There are certain qualifications this person must have:

  • have known you for at least two years
  • be able to identify you, for example they’re a friend, neighbour or colleague
  • be “a person of good standing in their community” – that is, work in a specific profession.

Examples of recognised professions include:

  • accountant
  • airline pilot
  • articled clerk of a limited company
  • assurance agent of recognised company
  • bank or building society official
  • barrister
  • chairman or director of a limited company
  • chiropodist
  • commissioner for oaths
  • councillor, for example local or county
  • civil servant (permanent)
  • dentist
  • director, manager or personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
  • engineer with professional qualifications
  • financial services intermediary, for example a stockbroker or insurance broker
  • fire service official
  • funeral director
  • insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
  • journalist
  • Justice of the Peace
  • legal secretary (fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs)
  • licensee of a public house
  • local government officer
  • manager or 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
  • optician
  • paralegal (certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals)
  • person with honours, for example an OBE or MBE
  • pharmacist
  • photographer (professional)
  • police officer
  • Post Office official
  • president or secretary of a recognised organisation
  • Salvation Army officer
  • social worker
  • solicitor
  • surveyor
  • teacher or lecturer
  • trade union officer
  • travel agent (qualified)
  • valuer or auctioneer (fellow or associate members of the incorporated society)
  • Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers

How long will my passport take to arrive?

At present, travellers can expect a UK passport renewal to take up to three weeks, according to the government’s website.

However in reality, the average waiting time for an adult passport renewal is likely to be approximately 10 days, according to a the UK’s passport website.

There are also different turnaround times if you’re applying for a passport from a country outside the UK. In such cases, you can pay extra for an urgent passport renewal application from within the UK.

The Online Premium service takes one day and can be applied for via the UK government website, but requires you to attend an in-person appointment at your nearest passport office.

The earliest you can get an appointment is two days from when you apply, and this service currently costs £193.50.

Or if you are in less of a rush, you can get your renewed passport delivered to your home one week after your appointment using the Fast Track service.

If you cannot wait weeks for your passport until then call the Passport Adviceline or if you’ve already applied for your passport you can check the application status online.

Meanwhile, the price of a standard passport renewal has increased as of 11 April, where the fee for a standard online passport application made from within the UK will rise from £82.50 to £88.50 for adults and from £53.50 to £57.50 for children.