Renewing a UK passport

Joan needs to renew her British passport but thinks it’s too difficult so, in this week’s travel SOS, we take a look at how this can be done and how much it will cost.

Q. Joan
What is the easiest way to renew a British passport from Australia? The forms all have to be downloaded now and your credit card details entered online.

It used to be that you could get the form from Australia Post. Now it will only check your application.

I’m not yet set up for printing and this just seems too difficult. What can I do?  

A. You’re correct Joan, the process of apply for a UK passport from here in Australia has become a little more difficult, but that shouldn’t put you off.

Before you get started, you should have to hand the passport you wish to renew, access to a printer and your credit card. If you don’t have access to a printer, you can save the forms as a PDF and print at a later date by emailing to a friend who can or taking the file on a USB to your local library.

Currently, it takes about four weeks for the UK Passport Office to process your application, but you should also factor in the time it takes to get to the UK and back, and that at certain times of the year, it may take a little longer to process.

The fees involved for renewing your passport are £83 (approx. $150) and a courier fee of £19.86 (approx. $36). If you’re using the Australia Post passport checking service, you should add $24.90 to this. You should also add a further $22.90 for a registered envelope to send your application to the UK and the cost of having photos taken – $16.95 at Australia post outlets. So, all up, renewing your UK passport could cost around $235.

Before you get started, it’s worthwhile downloading and reading the UK Passport Office’s online guidance notes to renewing your passport. It will give you precise details of the documentation you need, whether you need your photos countersigned, etc.

Once you have everything to hand, you can begin to fill in your UK passport application. The process is quite simply, with each screen taking you through step-by-step. Don’t worry if you’re not able to complete the application as you can save and return later. Just remember to note your login and password somewhere safe.

Once you have completed the UK Passport application, you will be asked to make payment online. Once payment has been accepted, you will be given a declaration form that you should print and sign.

This declaration form will detail the supporting documentation that you need to send to the UK Passport Office, along with the form itself.

If you need to travel urgently and can’t wait for a renewed passport, you can apply to have your passport extended for 12 months. Only certain countries will accept an extended passport and there is other criteria which must be met. To find out more, visit www.gov.uk.

Written by Debbie McTaggart



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