How to Acquire a British Passport

Passports are the most vital paper document to have on hand if you are leaving the country. Knowing how to acquire a British passport is important for anyone living in London who wants to travel elsewhere. Applications for a British passport go through the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). This Home Office provides passports and other identification services to British nationals who live in the UK and to British nationals living overseas in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


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    Decide how to access the required form considering that you have four options when you're working with the Identity and Passport Service Office (IPS).
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    Fill out and submit the form online. IPS will then print the form out and mail it to you in order for you to send it back with your signature and supporting documents.
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    Pick up the form from a Post Office branch that offers the Passport Check and Send service.
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    Request the form online and IPS will mail you one within five working days.
    • You can call the Passport Advice line at 0300-222-0000 and request that IPS mail you a form within five working days.
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    Complete the form with all of your identifying information.
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    Consult the IPS website or office to determine which supporting documents you need to send in.
    • The supporting documents required are different depending on when and where you were born.
    • These might include a birth or adoption certificate, one of your parent's birth certificate, Home Office certificate of registration or naturalization, passport that was valid at the time of your birth, and/or marriage certificate.
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    Prepare your supporting documents which must be original and not photocopies, and cannot be laminated unless necessary for Braille labeling.
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    Double check the signature lines and submit the entire package in the mail.


  • Visit Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO) to see a visual example of the passport.
  • When you are mailing back the form and supporting documents, be sure to note the application's 10-digit barcode number at the front page of the application. You will need this number if you have any questions about the status of your application.
  • Research the different terms of validity for passports to understand how long your passport remains valid. Understand that there are sometimes differences in validity terms for adults versus children.


  • Passports can take several weeks or months to process and be sent to the requester; the IPS says to plan for six weeks wait time. Paperwork and applications need to be submitted well in advance of travel plans.
  • Have savings prepared before you apply; research the current cost for a standard adult passport that lasts for 10 years.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer, phone, or transportation to request the form
  • Postage
  • Mailing envelope
  • Supporting personal identification documents

Article Info

Categories: Official Travel Documentation