Dual nationality is allowed under UK law. British citizenship is conferred either by birth, by descent (by having British parents), by registration, or by naturalization in the UK.
British Citizenship by Birth – Born in the UK
If you were born in the United Kingdom before January 1, 1983, you are a British citizen and are entitled to a British passport.
As a UK citizen, you can easily apply to renew your British passport from anywhere in the world.
If you were born in the UK on or after January 1, 1983, then one of your parents must have held permanent status, such as citizenship or indefinite leave to remain in the UK at the time of your birth and, if it was your father, he must have been married to your mother at the time of your birth in order for you to be a British citizen and eligible for a British passport.
British Citizenship by descent – Born Outside the UK to a British Parent
If you fit into the following criteria then you are a British citizen through descent. British citizens through descent are not required to register for citizenship or take any other measures – they can apply for their first British passport straightaway:
- Born to a British mother outside of the UK after January 1983
- Born to a British father before 2006 and married to your mother, outside of the UK
- Born to an unmarried British father after July 2006 outside of the UK
When the application is received, Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) will confirm the validity of your British citizenship, and then issue the passport which will be sent to you in your country of residence.
NOTE: If you were born before January 1, 1983 outside the UK to a mother who was British, but your father was not British, then you must submit a different type of application called Registration as a British Citizen. Likewise if you were born between 1983 and 2006 to an unmarried British father then you also qualify for Registration as a British Citizen. Click here for more information on how to Register as a British Citizen.
How to Apply for a British Passport
UK passport applications are no longer accepted at any UK High Commission or Embassy and if any applications are sent there they will be returned to you via regular mail. All UK passport applications must be completed online whether you are renewing your passport, applying for the first time, or replacing a lost or stolen passport. Once you submit your information you are then required to mail in your original supporting documents to the UK. When submitting documentation to HMPO, only originals are accepted. You cannot send photocopies as your application will be returned or put on hold until you provide the original documents required.
If you are renewing a passport, the expired one must be submitted with the application. If your previous UK passport has been lost or stolen, a special declaration must be made. Once your passport application is processed, your old passport will be cancelled and sent to you if it is not damaged in any way, along with any other original documents that were requested for your application.
Our office will help you renew or obtain your first UK Passport. We will:
- Advise what additional documents may be required for your application
- Review your supporting documents to avoid any complications and subsequent delays to processing
- Complete and submit the online application for you
- Advise what originals you must send to our office
- Submit your originals to HMPO in a timely and secure fashion
- Keep you updated of the processing and when you should expect your new passport back
Cost of a British Passport Application
Her Majesty’s Passport Office charges the following fees for passport applications:
|Online Application||Paper Application|
|Adult (16 and over) standard 34-page passport||£82.50||Not Available Outside UK|
|Adult (16 and over) 50-page frequent traveller passport||£93.50|
|Child (under 16) standard 34-page passport||£53.50|
|Child (under 16) 50-page frequent traveller passport||£64.50|
|Passport for people born on or before 2 September 1929||Free|
An additional fee of £32 is charged for the courier cost to return the passport and supporting documents outside of the UK.
Our office charges a professional fee of $560 in local currency including government fees, courier fees and any taxes.
British Passport Application Processing Time
The average processing times for a UK passport renewal is approximately 4-6 weeks but this is subject to change and has been affected by COVID. If your application is missing documentation this can also affect the processing times.
Once you submit your online application you can no longer use your passport to travel so it is always advised not to make any travel plans until you receive your new passport.
HMPO do not recognize any form of urgency. You cannot submit a passport application to HMPO and request urgency.
If you do need to travel urgently and you have an expired or lost passport you must contact the UK Embassy or UK High Commission in your country of residence.
Proof of UK Citizenship is Required To:
- Live permanently in the UK
- Work in the UK
- Study in the UK
- Join the British Armed Forces (Her Majesty’s Armed Forces)
Traveling on a British Passport
Unlike Canada and the USA, the UK does not require that UK passport holders enter the UK on their British passport however it is always advisable, whenever possible, that you use the passport of the country you are returning to.
Having a valid passport is not only important for travel purposes but it is also the primary piece of ID when renewing a Canadian permanent resident card and without it your PR application will not be processed.
If you are a permanent resident in the USA then you may need your passport as a primary piece of ID if you have been converted to a lawful permanent resident, you are trying to obtain a US PR card that was never received or you are requesting to make changes to an existing card.
Adult passports (16 years and over) are issued for 10 years while a child’s passport (15 years and under) are issued for 5 years. UK passports come in two sizes to accommodate frequent travelers, jumbo and regular. Jumbo passports contain 48 pages while regular passports contain 32 pages.