When You Need a Signature of a Countersignatory
A ‘countersignatory’ is a qualified person who signs a passport application form and photo on behalf of the applicant.
The purpose of having someone else sign the documents is to prove the identity of the person who is making the application.
Which Passport Applications Need Countersigning?
In most cases, you will need to send in an application form and two (2) photos to get a passport. The form, and one of the photographs will need signing by a countersignatory when applying for a:
- First adult passport
- First child passport
- Replacement for a lost, stolen, or damaged passport
- Renewal passport for a child aged eleven (or under)
- Renewal passport due to a change in appearance (unrecognised from an existing version)
Who Can Sign the Form and the Photograph?
If you are using a countersignatory as part of a passport application, the person that you use must:
- Have known the applicant for at least two (2) years. The same applies if an adult signed the passport application form for a child under the age of 16.
- Be able to identify the person who is applying for the passport. Typical examples include a friend, a work colleague, or a neighbour. It cannot be someone that only knows the applicant in a professional capacity.
- Be ‘a person of good standing in their community’. They can also be working in (or retired from) a recognised profession (see below).
The person who gives their signature cannot be closely-related to, or have an involvement with, the applicant. So, for example, they must not be:
- Related by birth, or by marriage, to the person who is applying.
- Be in a relationship with, or live at the same address as, the person who is applying.
Applications made in the United Kingdom
If you make the application in the UK, the countersignatory must be living in the United Kingdom. They must also hold a valid British or Irish passport.
Applying Outside of the United Kingdom
A countersignatory must hold a current British, Irish, or other EU, US, or Commonwealth passport if an application gets made outside the United Kingdom.
What if they have a US, Commonwealth, or non-British or non-Irish EU passport? In this case, you must include a colour photocopy of the page that shows their photograph with your application.
Note: In some cases, not having a British or Irish passport can slow down the passport application process.
What a Countersignatory Must Do with the Form
The person you use as a countersignatory must check all the details are correct after you fill in the form. They must then sign your application form. Their signature on the document means they are confirming that:
- They have known the applicant for more than two (2) years.
- The applicant is who they claim to be.
- To the best of their knowledge, all the information that the applicant put on the form is true.
Note: The countersignatory must also insert their passport number on the passport application form.
What a Countersignatory Must Write on the Photograph
Anyone who is acting as a countersignatory should write a statement on the back of one photo. The statement should say:
“I certify that this is a true likeness of [the title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport].”
The countersignatory must add their signature and the date underneath the statement on the photo. Even so, the applicant does not need to sign or date their own photographs.
If HM Passport Office Contact the Countersignatory
HM Passport Office might contact the countersignatory to get further information. If so, it may delay a passport application if the person is unavailable (e.g. they are taking a vacation).
Accepted Occupations for Passport Countersignatories
If you act as a countersignatory for another person you must either:
- Be ‘a person of good standing in their community’.
- Work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession.