How to renew a UK passport

Alice Morgan
Alice Morgan
Updated 22 September 2022  | 4 mins read

Renewing a UK passport isn’t a complicated process, but it’s worth getting it sorted well before you need to use it next.

Passports are currently taking up to ten weeks to process, so if you know your passport is close to expiring, make it a priority to get your application in as soon as you can.

If you’re in urgent need of a passport, there are other options available to fast track your application.

Key points

  • Be sure to check the entry requirements for the country you’re visiting
  • You can fast track your application, but it’s more expensive
  • You can still use an unexpired visa, but you’ll need to take your old passport and new passport with you when you travel

When should I renew my passport?

Depending on your destination, your passport may still be valid if it’s close to expiring, although it may take you longer to pass through immigration control. However, some countries will require your passport to still be six months in date. You’ll need to check what the entry requirements are for the country you’re travelling to.

Because of delays at the passport office, the government recommends allowing 10 weeks for your new passport to arrive.

Will any unexpired time be added to my new passport?

No. If you renew your passport before its expiry date, you won’t carry over any unexpired months to your new passport. It will be valid from the date of issue.

How do I renew my UK passport?

You can renew your UK passport online or by post.

If you choose to renew it online, you’ll pay £75.50 for an adult or £49 for a child under 16. You’ll fill out an online form with your details, and you’ll need:

  • A photo of yourself (you can upload one, use one from a photo booth, or take one on your smartphone when you reach this stage in the application process)
  • A credit or debit card
  • Your old passport

Applying by post is a little more expensive at £85. You’ll fill out a paper application form from the Post Office, or you can obtain one by calling the Passport Adviceline.

You’ll need to send two printed photos of yourself with your application. They must comply with the guidelines to be accepted. If they’re rejected, for instance if they’re of poor quality or your face is obstructed, your application will take even longer.

If you need your passport any sooner than 10 weeks, you can apply to get it urgently. You can either choose the Online Premium service or opt for a Fast Track appointment.

Online Premium

If you’re desperate for your new passport, you can book an appointment at your nearest passport office via the Online Premium service.

Your appointment will take no more than 30 minutes and you’ll be given your passport there and then. A standard passport will cost you £177 at an Online Premium appointment.

Bear in mind that you can only use this service to renew adult passports that were issued after 31 December 2001.

When you apply for an Online Premium appointment via the government website, you’ll need your old passport and a digital photo of yourself. You’ll also need to take your old passport along to your appointment.

If you need someone to attend the appointment on your behalf, they’ll need to take your old passport with them, as well as a letter from you, which includes their name, and states that you’ve given permission for them to pick your passport up for you. They should also take some ID along to confirm their identity.

Fast Track

You’ll also need to attend an appointment for the Fast Track service, which should see you receiving your passport within a week.

While the Online Premium service is only for adult passports, the Fast Track can be used to renew children’s passports too. You can also use it to:

  • Get a child’s first passport
  • Change personal details on your passport
  • Replace your passport if it’s been lost, stolen, or damaged

A standard adult passport will cost you £142 using this service, while a child’s will be £122.

You’ll need to fill in a paper form from your local Post Office. Once your application has been approved, you’ll be able to book your appointment and pay for your passport online.

Remember to take along:

  • Your paper application form
  • Supporting documents (you’ll find a list of these in the booklet that comes with your paper application form)
  • Two identical printed passport photos

If you can’t make your appointment, you can send somebody in your place. They’ll just need to take along the items listed above.

What if I have an unexpired visa in my old passport?

An unexpired visa should be attached to your passport and sent off with your application.

Once your application has been processed, you’ll be sent your new passport and your old passport will also be returned to you. You should send a letter with your application stating that you want your old passport returned to you unclipped, so the visa doesn’t get damaged.

You’ll still be able to use your visa if you carry both of your passports with you when you travel.

Different rules may apply depending on the country you’re travelling to, so be sure to check the government website for advice before you plan your trip.

What should I do if I’ve lost my passport?

If you’ve lost your passport, you should cancel it straight away using the government portal to reduce the risk of anyone trying to steal your identity.

You can then apply for a replacement online or get one urgently via the Online Premium or Fast Track service.

Has Brexit changed things?

Aside from your passport looking different, Brexit hasn’t changed much in terms of the passport renewal process.

However, you’ll need to check how much time you have left on your passport before you visit certain countries within the European Union, as some require that your passport is six months in date.

It’s also worth checking whether you need a visa to visit the country, depending on how long you intend to stay.

If your passport still has ‘European Union’ written on it but it’s in date, you can still use it until it expires.