Apply for a First British Passport

First UK Passport Package

Use this guide if your UK passport is expired for more than 5 years OR, if you are applying for your very first UK passport (passport through descent).

Key Takeaways

  • You may be able to inherit UK citizenship from one or both parents
  • You will need one or both parents’ Long Form Birth Certificate (also called a Full Birth Certificate in the UK).
  • You will need to open an online account with HM Passport Office and fill in the required information at their online portal.
  • You will have to get someone with a UK Passport to confirm your identity. This can be done online but the easiest option is on paper.
  • You send the completed application package with supporting documents to the UK Passport Office in Durham, UK.

Apply for a First British Passport is easy if you follow these simple steps outlined in this page.

This is a do-it-yourself guide, outlining step-by-step how to file your own application with HM passport office. If you would like paid help, please click here for a simpler experience.

Note: these steps must also be used if your British Passport expired more than 5 years ago.

Tip: Check out our free tool to see if you are a British Citizen?

Tip: Definitions

The interesting thing is, most people are not fully aware of the opportunities a first UK passport gives. Getting a passport through ancestry is the fastest and cheapest way to become a new passport holder of a new country. This allows you to:

  • Live and work in the UK
  • Get full NHS service (National Health Services) – with some restrictions, click here to learn more.
  • Access to Schools including top Universities – Pay lower tuition as a UK national

And a lot more – learn more of the benefits by clicking here.

The fact is, in as little as a few months, you will have a NEW British Passport in your hands.

Note: If you are still not sure if you are eligible for a British Citizenship, click here

Here is an overview of some steps we will be taking:

Tip: Need to find out if you qualify for a UK Passport? Click here to find out. 

This entire process will take a few months and will take a few hours of work to complete (not including collecting documents).

Pro Tip: You will be coming back to this page a few times in the following weeks and months. Bookmark this page in your browser for quick access to answers. It’s best to read this page first before starting the process.

  • Average cost for this do-it-yourself process will be: CDN$300-$400/USD$260-$360. If you use a third party like Immigroup (the website you are currently on), we charge in total CDN$740.87/USD$590. To learn more about what we do, click here.
  • Your total government fee will be £105.86 (approximately CDN$190/USD$155 , including credit card fees ).
  • Courier cost, or mailing with tracking, generally comes to $90 to $150 (depending on your location and the courier company you use). Note: Don’t get discouraged if you must send a second courier package to Durham because the Passport office requested additional documents or you for got something. This is standard procedure for people taking on this task themselves.
  • Expected timelines:
  • If you have all your documents in order, 16 weeks from the date the Passport office gets your package.
  • Note: Add an extra month if you need to replace a parent’s birth certificate
  • Note: Add a few weeks of delay every time you are requested to send more documents.

Tip: Don’t start the process until you have all documents ready (for example: Your long form birth certificate).

Alternatively, if you want an even simpler way to do this, and you are willing to pay an extra service fee for it, we have a paper passport application. We’ll even take care of the digital photo and make sure all your documents are in order, and if you are missing anything we will help you get it. To learn more, please click here.

Note: learn the benefits of living and working in the UK. 

Overview: What documents do I need to get my First British Passport?

  1. One parent’s long from birth certificate (your mother’s or father’s). If you don’t have this, please click here, how to get a UK birth certificate.
  2. Your long form birth certificate
  3. An Email account
  4. A Colour Printer and scanner (if you don’t have a scanner, not to worry).
  5. A valid Credit Card – you will be charged £105.86 (approximately, including credit card fees of CDN$190/USD$155).
  6. One envelope, 9 inches (22.9 cm) by 12 inches (30.5 cm).

Parents: What type of UK birth certificate will you need to get your First British Passport?

British Birth Certificate Example

Assuming you are applying through your mother or father, you will need their original long form birth certificate. This original document must be sent to the HM Passport office. You will get it back at the end of the process.

Tip: Some parents will perhaps be reluctant to give up their original certificate, fearing that the document will get lost. You have two options in this case:

  • Let them know that the odds of this happening are extremely low, and that these documents are easy to replace.
  • You can instead order a new birth certificate, the cost is low, but it will add an extra 1 month before you get the replacement UK birth certificate.

Your document: What type of  birth certificate will you need to get your First British Passport?

Here we are going to need what is called a Long Form Birth Certificate. Simply put, it’s a birth certificate that has not only your information on it, but also your parents’ information. Most people don’t have this because usually you will only need it in legal matters like this one.

If you live in Canada, you can order one from your Provincial Registry, if you are in the United States, you can order one from your State Registry. For more information, you can click here.

Starting an account with the HM Passport Office

  1. Go to this website: Click here but before you start, take a look at all the questions you will be asked. This will ensure you are ready to create the account and fill in the online British passport application. Here are the questions:
  • Was your passport lost or stolen? Click here to learn about this extra step.
  • Have you had a UK Passport before?


  • First Time British Passport: Answer “No”
  • UK Passport Holders: You can find this date on your passports’ page that has your photo. In most cases, it will be 10 years ago, from the current year.
  • Which is your passport issuing authority?

Explanation: You will be given several choices:

  • UKPA, UKPS, IPS, or HMPO (this last option is only picked if the last time you had your passport renewed, you were in the United Kingdom).
  • Other (most people will be picking this option). If your passport was issued from outside of the UK, you will see FCO. This means other is the correct option to choose.
  • Do you have a naturalization or registration certificate?
  • Do you have passports from any other countries?

Explanation: If you are a citizen of another country (for example: Canadian or American Passport holder), you will need to make a colour copy of every single page of that passport, even if blank. See example here.

  • Old Passport Details (number)

Explanation: Look for the 9-digit passport number. It’s located at the top left on your passport page that has your photo.

  • If you have had a name change, please click here for more information.
  • Have you ever used any other names?
    Explanation: As long as your name hasn’t changed from the last time you renewed your UK passport, and it matches the name in your Canadian (or other) passport, you will not be requested to provide additional documents of proof of name change, such as marriage certificates or divorce papers.
  • Home address and mobile phone number.

Explanation: DHL courier will be sending your new passport to this address.

  • Getting updates on your British passport application (tracking your passport UK application)

Explanation: You will have two choices, Email update or Text. This is completely up to you, but email is more reliable. You can also choose both if you wish.

How to get someone to Confirm Your Identity

HM Passport office give you two choices here:

  1. You can ask someone to log in to your profile and confirm your identity. The person confirming your identity must be a UK passport holder.
  2. You can print the relevant page and ask someone to do it on paper.

For most people, option 2 is preferable.

Follow these steps. After you have made the payment, you will have to copy your PEX number (example: PEX 123 456 7890) and paste it in the ‘Sign in’, page, add your email and date of birth, and you will be taken to a page (see below). Select ‘If they can’t do this online’. HM website will ask you ‘do you want to download the form?’, select, ‘Yes’.

confirm identity HM Passport website

In simple terms, what you will need to do is:

  • Find someone that has known you for at least 2 years.
  • Meets a required list of professions – Can be either retired or currently working, if they are a professional in good standing
  • In case the guarantor you have provided fails to answer calls, return mail or answer emails, you will be asked to provide a new guarantor. HM passport office will have you redo the form, have it mailed out to them, which may extend this process by 3 weeks, depending on how quickly you can get organized.
  • They must be willing to give you a copy of their passport page.
  • Be willing to take a call from the HM passport officer, or respond to requests via email or mail
  • Sign and fill out the documents

Here is an example of a completed Confirm Your identity

Putting the British Passport Package together

Warning: Be careful with this step.

  1. Have your completed Confirm Your Identity Form
  2. After the submission of your United Kingdom application, you will be provided with a receipt (PEX number) which contains the address. You must print/write the address exactly as it appears in your receipt or email confirmation.
  3. Correctly indicating your HM Passport office tracking information.
  • The tracking information needs to be on your 9 by 12-inch envelope.
  • This envelope with tracking will be put into your courier package (in a later step)
  • It’s optional to also put this tracking information on your courier package.

Here is an example of a correctly indicated HM tracking

pex number for tracking UK passport

  1. Warning: If you have a Canadian or American Passport, you must make colour copies of ALL 36/48 pages, even if the pages are blank.
  2. (If applicable) Old UK Passport
  3. Put everything into your 9 by 12-inch envelope.

See example: canadian-passport-example-of-all-36-pages




Will I be asked for a Passport Interview?

99% of the time this is not asked of you. In rare situations the HM Passport office may ask to do on online interview. This usually happens when you application is out-of-the-ordinary.

What if I forget to send some documents?

Not to worry, this is typical when you are doing something for the first time. Wait for the notification to be sent to you requesting this extra document. If you know ahead of time you have missed something, simply have the document ready. You will have to send a second courier package, but you must make sure you also include your PEX number with the package. This will ensure your second package finds it’s way to your application and the first package.

What if I don’t know some historic information on the application?

For example, a lot of people will not know the date of marriage of their parents. At this point, just leave it blank. If HM Passport Office makes an issue of this fact, for this example you would order the parents original Marriage Certificate from the UK Register Office.

What if the British Parent I am using does not have a UK Birth Certificate?

There are different situations resulting in a British Parent not having a UK Birth Certificate.

  1. They don’t have a birth certificate showing they are UK born because they were naturalised in the UK and instead have a naturalisation certificate. Thus, if applicant is born to naturalised parents, they will send in their parent’s original naturalisation certificate instead of their birth certificate.
  2. If the parent lost the birth certificate, a replacement can be ordered in this case:

  1. If they don’t have birth certificate from UK, nor do they have a naturalisation certificate, this means they were not born in the UK or they got UK citizenship through their own parents. This means they cannot pass on their UK citizenship to their children.

Tip: Adopted at birth? Read more about your options for a Fist United Kindom Passport.

What is a Naturalisation document, and does HM Passport office need this?

A naturalisation certificate is a document that is issued to individuals who have resided for at least 5 years in the UK. In at least one of those years the person must have had ILR status (Indefinite leave to remain) and later, have applied for a grant of UK citizenship.

This document serves to prove one’s status as a British citizen. There is a whole procedure behind this document, including oath-taking and, once issued, this document is used to apply for a UK passport.

More on naturalisation certificate and rules of replacing if lost/stolen/damaged:

Do I need to send my parents’ marriage certificate for a First UK Passport?

  1. If you were born after January 1, 1983 and you are applying for first UK passport through a British born/naturalised mother, you DO NOT have to send the marriage certificate of your parents.
  2. If you were born to a British born/naturalised father, you will have to send the marriage certificate of your father.
  3. If the parents were not married at the time of birth of the applicant and never got married, there is a different procedure called “Children born to unmarried British fathers”. This is the same application process as “Children born before Jan 1, 1983 to British mothers”. In both cases, the applicants will have to initiate a registration as a UK citizen first, they will then attend an oath-taking ceremony and obtain a naturalisation certificate, and only then will they be eligible to apply for a UK passport.
  4. However, children born after 1 July 2006 to unmarried fathers do not need to provide a marriage certificate of their parents. Furthermore, they don’t have to go through a naturalisation procedure; they can apply right away for a UK passport.

This is because the law changed on 1 July 2006. Before that date:

  • citizenship could only be passed on from a British man to his child if the parents were married
  • a child born in the UK could not acquire British citizenship on the basis of a settled father if the parents were not married

However, since the change in law:

  • For children born after 1 July 2006 citizenship can be acquired through a British or settled man, whether or not he was married to the child’s mother.
  • For a child born on or after 1 July 2006, the following can meet the definition of father for British nationality purposes:
    • the mother’s husband, if any, at the time of the child’s birth
    • any person who is treated as the father under section 28 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 or section 35 or 36 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008
    • a person who is treated as a parent of the child under section 42 or section 43 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (second female parent)
  • if none of the above applies, a man who can be proved to be the father by the production of either:
    – a birth certificate identifying him as such, issued within 12 months of the birth of the child (where the birth was registered before 10 September 2015)
    – other evidence, such as a DNA test report, court order, or birth certificate that demonstrates paternity

This means that:

  • a child can acquire citizenship through an unmarried father, if satisfactory evidence of paternity can be provided
  • the mother’s husband is the father for nationality purposes, even if it is established that he is not biologically related to the child

What happens if I don’t manage to send my documents within the 90-day period allowed to submit original/supporting documents or old UK passports?

  1. The system automatically withdraws the application and you will have to fill out a new application and pay a new government fee of £105.86 UK pounds.
  2. If your supporting documents arrived 3-4 days after the 90-day period, HM Passport usually allows you to resend your application and new guarantor form, without charging the extra resubmission fee.

If you have found this information helpful, we only ask you to come back and give your honest feedback by leaving it below in the comment section. Thank you.