For a lot of UK Citizens, there is one thing you have every ten years (or if you fill your passport up with stamps and Visas). It’s to renew your passport.
Old and new – Image, Economy Class and Beyond.
There are quite a few ways you can renew your passport – depending on circumstances.
- Electronic Renewal – Amazingly, Her Majesty’s Government have got with the times and you can renew online if you have the time to hand and can wait 3 to 4 weeks for a renewal depending on peak periods. You can do this at https://www.gov.uk/renew-adult-passport
- Postal Renewal – This is like the electronic service above… except by post. Three to four weeks to renew a passport depending on peak periods.
- Check and Send with the Post Office – This is the service I used last time when I replaced my passport. It costs a little more than just popping it in the post – but you get your application checked first before your renewal is sent off. It takes three to four weeks for a renewal – depending on peak periods
- One Week Fast Track – If you’re travelling semi-urgently, this is a useful service that will get you a new document in a week. You need to apply in person for this service
- Same Day Service – If you’re disorganised, need a passport extremely quickly, or have live in a block of flat that couriers can’t find for some reason (even though its been in existence for the best part of 15 years now and are never in to receive post) – this is the service for you.
If it’s a first time application, there are different time-frames. See https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-adult-passport.
The price points vary depending on this. So here’s a table to help:
Should you have lost your passport – or something else has happened other than a straight renewal – then you won’t be able to use the same day service, and have to rely on the other services. In other words, plan before you hit the book button.
If you’re going to take advantage of the Fast Track and Premium Services, you are required to visit one of the Passport Offices for an interview. These are located in:
So, to bring you up to speed – my passport has now passed the 9 years and six month marker – the point where long distance travel on it isn’t a good idea as countries can refuse entry with limited life on the passport.
I’ve got a semi-urgent trip coming up – but as I alluded to – I’m not in my home during the daytime, and hardly awake in the evening to receive couriers (unless the locals get there first), so I’ve chosen to go and pick up my passport myself.
And with the limited time to play with, I’ve gone for a same-day appointment.
Setting up the Appointment
There are three things you need to get ready for an appointment:
- Get a passport application form from your local Post Office (I strongly recommend you get two forms in case you mess one up)
- Get 2 x compliant photos (these need to be printed and can’t be electronic). You can use PhotoMe machines, print your own or get a photo shop to do them for you.
- Register online for an appointment at https://www.gov.uk/get-a-passport-urgently/book-appointment-pay
- Gather any required documents as listed on your passport form.
Typically for a renewal – all you will need is your old passport and two photos. If you are doing any name changes, then it gets complex. I did a simple renewal.
For want of a better term if you want a passport – fill this in.
Once you start going through the online wizard to book a an appointment, you’ve got to select where you want to go, and if there are appointments available.
As you can see – weekends can fill up quickly. Weekdays can be better and there’s normally plenty of appointments. If you want your appointment and passport the same day you’ll need to set up an appointment before a certain time as defined by the local passport office.
Let’s look at two examples. Here’s a list of appointments for the London Office.
At London, there isn’t a problem. Now let’s take a look at the Glasgow office…
Note the passport won’t be ready to collect the same day unless you have an interview before 12:30. Different offices have different opening times – so you do need to check before you book your appointment.
After that – just fill in the form and pay. You’ll get a confirmation and you’re good to go to the passport office on the prescribed day.
I went to the office in London – mainly as the offices in Newport and Liverpool didn’t have appointments that were convenient and I didn’t fancy the drive over to Peterborough.
Visiting the London Passport Office
Getting to the passport office at Victoria is easy – my advice is to ignore Google Maps – instead, go through Victoria Station, up the escalators into the shopping centre and past the Sainsburys. Turn left and you’ll see the office up ahead. Turn left again and you’ll be in front of the entrance.
Once inside, you’ll meet a security person who will judge if you are too early or late for your appointment. Clear that and, you’ll need to pass security, and check in.
Upon everything being ticked off as correct, you’ll be directed to the 2nd floor for the interview.
There’s a waiting area on the second floor – and if you’ve lost your photos – a Photo-Me Machine at £6 a pop.
Soon you’ll be called forward for your interview, and to hand over your passport, paperwork and photos.
Farewell old friend. We’ve had a lot of fun together.
The interview is a brief process if you’ve completed your form, have the passport and paperwork. Let’s put it like this: I was at the passport office at 10:25 for a 10:45 appointment. I was out by 10:40 – and that included the time to visit the small room.
You’ll be asked for a contact number in case of any issues – ensure its the one put on your passport form.
And with that – I was out of there.
You’re given a receipt – don’t loose it as it’s your key to get your passport later. You’ll be advised when to turn up to collect your passport.
Expect a queue when you arrive.
Another 10 minutes in a queue, and if you’ve been good and everything has worked in your favour – you’ll get your new shiny passport.
Yes. New passports that are issued are still burgundy. Yes it still has the words “European Union” on it. I’m sure Nigel Farage and the Daily Mail/Daily Express are having is having physical fit at seeing this, and writing whining editorials about how we need a blue coloured passport post Brexit. I couldn’t frankly give a toss what it looks like as long as it represents my country, allows me to travel – and it has the Coat of arms of the United Kingdom on the front it.
If you submitted your old document, this will be returned to you – with the corners clipped on it – indicating that it is not valid for travel any more.
Old and new passports – note the clipped corner.
You will need to sign the document to ensure it is valid. Once that’s done – it’s yours for the next 10 years (providing you don’t loose it).
With that all done, remember to get your new passport home safely, and note down the details about it (or if you have a scanner – get a scan of the photo pages it and store it safely.
Renewing a passport may seem like an impossible task to do when you get the form as well as the guidance document to help you fill it in. And that form can seem impossible. But read the form, take a pen and go section by section – and it’s easy enough.
The Passport office staff are friendly enough to perform their job securely – but remember, it’s not a friendly chat – it’s an interview.
For £137 for 10 years – it’s seems expensive, but for me – its re-opened the world of travel for me.
And that’s priceless.
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