Although my work life is all about putting numbers in boxes, the thought of filling in a passport application form filled me with dread and so I thought that it would be a good idea to post a few little hints and tips, especially if your little one is going on their first overseas adventure.
Whilst I am old enough to remember being on my mum’s passport without a photo (how did that ever happen?!) you need 2 photos for your application form. If you have any fear that your child won’t be able to have a good photo in one of those rubbish photo booths, I would recommend going to a proper photography shop (Max Spielmann etc) and just paying a little more to have someone actually take the photo. It cost us £6 for 6 pictures, which is a little more than the booth, but you know that the photo will be right for the passport
You have to get someone to countersign (more on them later!) just one photo with the following:
“I certify that this is a true likeness of (INSERT CHILD’S FULL NAME)”
and then sign and date it. The child’s name must include the middle name, otherwise they will return it (been there done that!). As parent, you do not need to sign the back of the photo.
Did you know that there were 2 different forms?! The old-school form from the Post Office is different to the one that you can fill in online and as a result, one might be easier to fill in than the other, especially if you have a slightly complicated family background. ONLY GO TO THE OFFICIAL .GOV WEBSITE – THERE ARE SOME DODGY SITES OUT THERE!! (sorry for shouting!)
I would recommend going down the online route if possible, as you are able to save a final version before signatures and so if that bit goes wrong, you can always print off another copy. However, you do have to pay up front, so you need to be sure that you’re going to go through with the process before you go down this route. Also, you do need a printer as clearly HM Passport Office aren’t fully into the 21st Century.
I do have a copy of the online form if anyone is interested in seeing the questions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it over to you.
If you go down the paper form route, I would highly recommend the Check and Send facility offered by the Post Office. This takes away some of the stress of worrying once you send off the form.
However, before you fill in the form, you may need to ask your extended family for their passport numbers and place of birth as these are the more random questions which are on the form (don’t ask me why!!)
If you are applying for a first passport, you also need to send the original of the birth certificate which you get it back a couple of days before you receive the passport.
There are various rules about who can countersign the forms, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications/accepted-occupations-for-countersignatories
Generally they need to know you for 2 years, and be a “person of good standing”. If they are signing for a child’s passport, they need to know the parent signing the passport for 2 years and not the child. If you are struggling to get the passport signed off, the one occupation which is a bit of a catch all is a “manager of a VAT registered company” which is a very wide term as you can manage one person in a small firm and be classed as that.
As of the summer 2016, it took 3 weeks to get the passport back so the turnaround times are quite quick. You can make an appointment to go to the Passport Office itself if you need a passport urgently, but that sounds far too stressful!!!
Once you get the passport, you can concentrate on the import part – the holiday!!!!
PS If you want further advice, go to the Kiddie Holidays website here
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