How do I Get My UK passport Urgently?

Click here for up-to-date processing times.

Key Takeaways

  • Most UK Passport applications take 4 to 8 weeks. If you also have to Register as a UK citizen that adds at least 6 months to the process.
  • If you have to travel before then, you can get an Emergency Travel Document from your nearest British Diplomatic Mission, but it has restrictions and may also require a visa to visit certain countries.
  • If you are applying for a First UK Passport you cannot get urgent processing.
  • You must have proof of an actual emergency along with proof of your travel itinerary.

Outside the UK: British nationals outside the United Kingdom can contact the nearest British Diplomatic Mission and request an emergency Travel Document. However, these documents have limitations:

  • Maximum of 5 countries
  • Your travel plans will be added to the passport pages (Note: you cannot change the dates of travel).
  • A visa may be required – You need to contact the foreign diplomatic mission of the country that you are visiting. You will need to ask if a visa is required for a British travel document.

Note: Travel Documents are not the same as your British Passport.

It will be up to the British Embassy or Consulate to decide if they will issue you an Urgent Travel Document, as well as how fast.

Tip: In most cases, they will grant this request  and get you the document in 1-3 days.

Tip: Bring proof of travel (e.g., paid airline itinerary).

Tip: Alternatively, you can also contact our firm, and we will let you know the latest times to process your application as quickly as possible. Click here to start. 

Inside the UK: If you travel to the UK to renew your passport by mail from within Britain, it will take less time to process your application. Please contact HM Passport office by clicking here.

Why does it take so long to get a UK passport?

The UK Passport Office does not publicly distinguish between renewal and first time passport application processing times, so we can only use our years of experience to guess as to the reasons why some passport applications are processed in 4 weeks and some take up to eight weeks:

First Time Applications Often Take Longer

You should assume that your application will take longer than 4 weeks if you have never applied for a passport before.

However, if you are submitting your first passport application, the process is straightforward, and if you have all the documentation, you may get your passport faster.

For example, if you were born in 1984, your father is British, and you submit the following documentation, this application shouldn’t take that long:

That is as straightforward as UK passport applications get, and you should expect it to take less than the full 8 weeks, unless you are contacted by the UK passport office for additional information/documentation.

Renewing a UK Passport Often Takes Longer

If you still haven’t renewed your old blue passport, you can expect the processing time to be closer to 8 weeks. This is because the blue passport lacks the security features of the current red passport.

Any missing Documentation Adds to the Processing Time

If you omit any of the required documentation in your application, it will cause delays. You should always try to submit more documentation than necessary, especially if you are applying for your first UK passport.

Note: If you must Register as a British Citizen first, this process takes months in addition to the stated passport processing time.

In Person British Passport Application Processing Time

The only way you can speed up your passport application time is by flying to the UK and applying from within the UK. This may seem absurd, but it’s true. The UK Passport Office promises a standard of 3 weeks processing time to those physically present in the UK.

So, you should time your visit close to the expiry date of your current passport.

Emergency British Passports

If you need your passport sooner than 4-6 weeks and you are unable to fly to the United Kingdom, your only other option is to apply for an emergency passport. However, there are a few things you should know:

First time UK passport urgent processing time

If you previously had a British passport, you can request a Travel Document (read information above).

If you are applying for your first UK Passport, there is no urgent processing for you. The only thing you can do is send your documents as perfectly complete and accurate as possible. Consider hiring a third-party company like us to help you with the process.

You Must Have an Actual Emergency to Get an Emergency Passport

You must meet the following conditions in order to apply for an emergency travel document (passport):

  • your previous passport is expired, full, damaged, or has been lost or stolen, or is in the possession of the UK Passport Office or a foreign government
  • you are travelling before you can get a new passport (i.e. less than 4 weeks)
  • you are also able to submit proof of your travel plans.

Please note: your travel plans will be included in the emergency travel document and you will be unable to travel anywhere else with this passport substitute. Usually, the travel document expires at the end of your trip.

Emergency Passports are One-Time Use

The emergency travel document is normally issued for your specific trip and will expire at the end of it, or shortly thereafter. It usually lists the country or countries you intend to travel to as well.

In other words, an emergency travel document is not a substitute for a normal British passport.

You Must Apply for Your Emergency Passport in Person

In order to get a British emergency travel document in Canada, you must apply in person at one of the following locations:

Type of OfficeConsular RegionAddressEmailPhone Number
British High CommissionCanada80 Elgin Street
Ottawa Ontario K1P 5K7
Canada 237 1530
British Consulate GeneralAlberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba5100-150 6 Ave SW
Calgary Alberta T2P 3Y7
Canad 705 1755
403 538 2181
British Consulate GeneralQuebec2000 McGill College Avenue
Suite 1940
Montreal Quebec H3A 3H3
Canada 866 5863
British Consulate GeneralOntario777 Bay Street, Suite 2800
Toronto Ontario M5G 2G2
Canada 593 1290
British Consulate GeneralBritish Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories1111 Melville Street, Suite 800
Vancouver British Columbia V6E 3V6
Canada 683 4421

Next: How much does it cost to get a UK Passport?