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Complete guide to renewing a UK passport

Rebecca Goodman
Written by  Rebecca Goodman
5 min read
Updated: 12 Mar 2024

If you’ve got a summer holiday booked, or you need to leave the country for a weekend break or a work trip, it’s time to check your passport is up to date. In this guide we tell you everything you need to know about renewing a UK passport including how long it takes, how much it will cost, and when you need to apply.

When should I renew my passport? 

You aren’t allowed to travel out of the UK if you don’t have a valid passport so if yours has expired you’ll need to renew it.  

You also need to make sure there is enough time left on the passport before it expires to allow you to make your trip and travel back to the UK. How much time you need depends on the country you’re visiting and there’s a full list of countries and time lengths on the website. If you’re visiting an EU country, for example, your passport must be valid for at least three months after the date you leave the country, while some countries including Australia and Bali require at least six months.   

travelling through an airport

Will any unused time be added to my new passport? 

When a new passport is issued, it is valid for an adult for a maximum of 10 years and nine months. A children’s passport is a maximum five years and up to nine months.  If you have any time left on your current passport while you apply for a new one, this is not added to the new passport.   

How do I renew my passport? 

There are a few different ways you can renew a passport, and how long it takes to get your new passport, and how much it will cost you, will depend on which method you use.  

What do I need to renew my passport?

If you are renewing an old passport, you will need your old passport and any valid passports you have from different countries, for these you can send a colour photocopy of every page or you can send the physical book.   

Can I renew online?

Most people can renew their passport online and it costs £82.50 to do it this way. You’ll need to provide a digital photo, pay with a credit or debit card, and you’ll need your old passport to do this.   

How to renew by post?

You can also renew your passport by post, to do this you will need to get a paper application form from a post office. You can also order the form by calling the Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000. The cost is £93 if you’re making a paper application and you’ll need to pay either with a debit or credit card or with a cheque made out to the ‘HM Passport Office’. You’ll also need two new and identical photos to include with your application. 

Can someone check my passport first?

The post office has both a ‘Paper Check and Send’ and a Digital Check and Send service, which costs £16, not including the cost of the photos. You can search for a nearby post office that offers the paper service on the Post Office website.   

How much does it cost to renew my passport?  

If you make an online application it will cost £82.50. If you apply by post you’ll need to pay £93.  

How long does it take to renew my passport? 

It takes around three weeks to receive your new passport from the date you apply. In some cases, it can take longer than this, and if the passport office needs to conduct an interview with you before issuing your passport, it will tell you within around three weeks after applying.  

What if I need my passport sooner? 

There are lots of situations where you may need to renew your passport sooner, such as if you have to travel abroad urgently. There are two services you can use for this, with different costs as we show here: 

  • Online Premium: this is the fastest way to get a passport in the UK and it involves you applying online and making an appointment to visit your local passport office. After the appointment, you should receive your new passport within four hours. The earliest you can book the appointment is two days after you apply and the service costs £193.50. This service can only be used for renewing an adult passport.   

  • FastTrack: you will need to book an appointment at your local passport office, and then apply for the passport and pay online. Your new passport will then be sent to you by courier one week after the appointment. It costs £155 for an adult passport and £126 for a child’s passport and you can use the service to renew a passport, change your name or personal details, replace a lost, stolen, or damaged passport or for a child’s passport.  

If you need to travel abroad urgently, such as if a family member is seriously ill, and your passport isn’t valid, you may be able to apply for an emergency travel document. It is usually valid for one single or return journey and you can apply for it if any of the following scenarios apply:  

  • You’re a British national 

  • You’re outside of the UK 

  • You need to travel in the next six weeks 

  • You can’t renew or replace your passport in time to travel 

  • Your UK passport has been lost, stolen, damaged, or has recently expired 

  • You have had a valid UK passport in the last 10 years 

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

You won’t need to apply for a new visa for a new passport, if your passport has expired but the visa is still valid. But you will need to make sure you keep the old passport as proof of your visa. 

What should I do if I lose my passport? 

If your passport is lost or stolen, you need to contact the passport office immediately to report it. You can do this online and you can also apply for a new passport at the same time. Reporting the lost passport ensures that no one else can use it fraudulently.  

What changes have there been to British passports post Brexit? 

There have been several changes to British passports after Brexit when the UK left the EU in 2020. These include the following: 

  • UK passports are now blue (they used to be maroon) but you can still use an older passport if it’s in date 

  • Since Brexit, UK travellers going to an EU country must have a passport that was issued less than 10 years before the date they arrive in the country, and it needs to be valid for at least three months after the date they plan to leave.   

How do you renew a child’s passport?   

You can renew a child’s passport online or with a paper application, and it works in a similar way to renewing an adult’s passport. You will need the child’s old passport, digital or printed photos, any valid passports from other countries, and any court orders relating to the child if they are in place.  It costs £53.50 to renew a child’s passport online or £64 if you do it by post. If your child is under 12 they will also need someone to confirm their identity. The person can’t be a family member, they must have known the child for two years, and there is a list of who can complete this job on the website.  

Frequently asked questions

Can I renew my British passport from outside the UK?

Yes, you can renew your British passport if you’re not in the UK through the online passport renewal service.  

What should I do if my passport is stolen while I’m travelling?

You will need to report your stolen passport to a local police station, and ask for a written report. You will then need to report it to the Home Office, which you can do online. You can then apply for an emergency travel document which is usually valid for a single or return journey.  

Can I track my UK passport application?

If you applied online, you will have been given a reference number and you can use this to track your passport application. If you used the post office ‘Check and Send’ service, you will also be able to track the application, with the reference number given. For those that applied by post, you will need to call the passport office to track your application. The phone number is 0300 222 0000 or +44 (0)300 222 0000 if you’re outside of the UK. 

Can I use a damaged passport to travel?

You may not be able to use a damaged passport to travel, especially if any of the details can’t be clearly read. If your passport is damaged badly, you will need to apply for a new one.  

Does your passport number change when you renew?

You will get a new passport number when you change your passport. This means you can’t keep the same passport number when renewing your passport.  

Do I need a new photo to renew my passport?

Yes, you will need to supply a new photo when you renew your passport, even if you think your appearance has not changed. Your photo must have been taken in the last month, and your application will be delayed if your photos do not meet the rules

What should I do with my old passport after renewal?

Your old passport will be sent back to you, with the corner cut off to show it’s no longer valid. You can keep your old passport, but it’s important to store it safely - so it, or the details within it, can’t be accessed by criminals.