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Passport Rules and Regulations UK

A passport is an official document used most for international travel purposes. This section explains how passport rules and regulations function in the United Kingdom. Having British nationality means you can apply for, or hold, a British passport. Even so, HMPO can refuse to issue a new passport or they can take away an existing one.

UK Passport Rules: The document must be valid to certify the identity and the nationality of its holder. It continues to do so until it expires.

As a rule, a standard passport will display important information about the holder such as:

  • The full name of the bearer.
  • Where they were born and their date of birth.
  • A ‘current’ photograph and a signature.
  • Some other identifying information.

The embedded biometric information makes modern passports a machine-readable document. The process means they are difficult to counterfeit.

In most cases, the holder of a passport has entitlement to enter the country that issued it. Even so, not everyone entitled to a passport will have full citizenship with the right of abode.

It is not uncommon for certain organisations to request a copy of a passport ID page. Hotels and local currency exchanges may need it to confirm the holder’s identification.

Note: As a rule, a valid passport does not grant any ‘rights or privileges’ to the holder in the country visited.

Passport Application and Renewal Guide

HMPO stands for Her Majesty’s Passport Office and was first established in 2006. It is a division of the Home Office. HM Passport Office took over the role of the UK Identity and Passport Service. It is now the sole issuer of UK passports and provides them for British nationals worldwide.

Even with British nationality, some people are not guaranteed to get a UK passport. Examples include situations such as if:

  • An arrest warrant has been issued because you are suspected of committing a serious crime.
  • A court order stops the issuance of a UK passport or it restricts an opportunity to travel (includes children).
  • Bail conditions mean that you cannot leave the United Kingdom.
  • The result of a European Union or United Nations order restricts your travel.
  • A return journey to United Kingdom was at the expense of the government (until the amount owing is paid).

Note: Consideration for passport eligibility and entitlement to a British passport occurs at the time of application. The government can cancel or withdraw the existence of a passport at any time.

Applying for a Passport

Normal Service

You can apply for a passport online or use the same service to renew or upgrade it. The Post Office also have paper application forms if you want to apply by postal methods.

PO Check and Send

The Post Office passport Check and Send service is for paper form passport applications and renewals. Find out how much it costs and where in the UK you can use the service.

Urgent Service

There are several ways to get a passport fast (faster than normal). Find out how to renew or replace a passport urgently using the Premium or Fast Track service.

Get a Passport for an Adult or Child

Adult Passports

Find out how to apply for your first adult passport in the UK. Check out who qualifies for a British passport, how long it takes, the costs, and what documents you need.

Child Passports

There are several ways to get a passport for your child or your baby. Topics covered in the section explain how to get a first child passport, the process of renewals, and the costs.


The process of countersigning passport applications and photos helps to prove identity. The guide explains who can countersign passport application forms and photographs and what do they need to do.

Note: The price of getting a new passport depends on which type you want and how you apply for it. Find out the current passport fees for adult or child passports and the different ways to pay.

Passport Photographs

The United Kingdom rules for passport photos are specific on size, format, and quality. Use the guide to check passport photos rules for a visa or a driving licence.

Passport Renewal for Disabled

Applying for, or renewing, a passport can be a challenge for people with a disability. But, you can use free facilities and passport services if you are disabled or blind.

Report a Lost or Stolen Passport

You must cancel a lost or stolen passport while abroad or at home in the United Kingdom. You can get an emergency travel document or a replacement passport if your need to travel is urgent.

Passport Advice and Complaints

HMPO: You can contact HM Passport Office for advice or complaints about British passports issued in the United Kingdom.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office
PO Box 767
Southport PR8 9PW

Passport Adviceline
Telephone: 0300 222 0000
Outside UK: +44 (0)300 222 0000
Textphone: 18001 0300 222 0222
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm
Weekends and public holidays: 9am to 5:30pm
Learn more about UK call charges.

Note: The government scrapped identity cards in 2011. They are no longer valid as proof of identify. Use your passport instead of your identity card for travel purposes.

Passport Rules and Regulations in the United Kingdom