- There is no way to speed up the UK passport application process from overseas.
- Applying for a UK passport from North America takes 4-8 weeks from the date the UK passport office receives your application.
- The difference in time between 4 and 8 weeks depends upon how busy the UK Passport Office is, and whether or not they need additional documentation from you to process your application.
- If you travel to the UK to renew your passport by mail from within Britain, it will only take 3 weeks to process your application.
If you need an emergency, one-time-use travel document, you can apply for it at the High Commission in Ottawa, or any one of the Consulates-General in Canada, but you will have to prove you need to travel, and you will have to apply in person.
British Passport Application Processing Time
Where it is your first ever British passport application, or you are renewing for 4th time, the processing time for a British passport application submitted from North America is 4-8 weeks.
Why 4-8 weeks?
The UK Passport Office does not publicly distinguish between renewal and first time passport application processing timelines, 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, it is straightforward, and 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:
- Your long-form birth certificate
- Your father’s birth certificate
- Your father’s valid UK passport
- Your parents’ marriage certificate.
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.
Renewing a Blue Passport Often Takes Longer than Renewing a Red Passport
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 lacked 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 currently physically in the UK.
So, you should time your visit near the expiry of your current passport.
Emergency British Passports
If you need your passport sooner than 4 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:
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 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 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 the 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.
Basically: 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 Office||Consular Region||Address||Phone Number|
|British High Commission||Canada||80 Elgin Street|
Ottawa Ontario K1P 5K7
|email@example.com||613 237 1530|
|British Consulate General||Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba||5100-150 6 Ave SW|
Calgary Alberta T2P 3Y7
|firstname.lastname@example.org||403 705 1755|
403 538 2181
|British Consulate General||Quebec||2000 McGill College Avenue |
Montreal Quebec H3A 3H3
|email@example.com||514 866 5863|
|British Consulate General||Ontario||777 Bay Street, Suite 2800|
Toronto Ontario M5G 2G2
|firstname.lastname@example.org||416 593 1290|
|British Consulate General||British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories||1111 Melville Street, Suite 800|
Vancouver British Columbia V6E 3V6
|email@example.com||604 683 4421|
Apply for your First British Passport
Claim Your UK Citizenship.
We’ll review your application for accuracy and completeness and file it with the UK passport office in Durham.