How to renew a UK passport

Renewing your passport is a pretty straightforward process and can be much quicker and easier if you do it online.

Here’s our guide to renewing your UK passport.

Renewing your passport is a pretty straightforward process and can be much quicker and easier if you do it online.

Here’s our guide to renewing your UK passport.

Written by
Josh Daniels
Travel insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
19 JANUARY 2023
8 min read
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When should I renew my UK passport?

Before you plan a trip abroad, you should check the expiry date on your passport. If it has expired, don’t start making travel arrangements until you’ve got a new passport – the number will be different and your old passport number will no longer be valid.

If you have less than six months on your passport before it expires, it’s best to get it renewed straight away. Certain countries will only let you in if you will have at least six months left on your passport on your return date to the UK.

Since Brexit, if you are travelling to an EU country, your UK passport must be valid for three months from the date you plan to leave and return to the UK.

Will any unexpired time be added to my new passport?

Not anymore. In September 2018, HM Passport Office changed its policy on renewals, meaning that any time left on your old passport can’t be added to the new one.

How do I renew my UK passport?

There are two options for renewing your passport:

  1. Online
  2. Paper application form from the Post Office.

Renewing online is by far the quicker and easier way to get your new passport. It’s also cheaper.

How much does it cost to renew my passport?

It costs £82.50 to renew your passport online with a credit or debit card. It costs £93 to renew your passport by post. You can pay by credit or debit card, or with a cheque made payable to ‘HM Passport Office’.

How long will it take to get my new passport?

In 2022, HM Passport Office announced that it was seeing an unprecedented demand for their passport renewal service, with many of us postponing getting a new passport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As such, HM Passport Office is currently advising you allow at least 10 weeks for your new passport to arrive if you’re applying from the UK. Your new passport may arrive sooner but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can help speed up the process by applying online and submitting a digital photo.

It could take longer for your new passport to arrive if you apply by post or are applying from abroad. It might also take a bit longer if you apply during peak times like Christmas or school summer holidays.

What if I need my passport sooner?

If you need to get your new passport sooner than the standard renewal service allows, you can use the Online Premium service or the one week Fast Track service. You can’t use these faster services if you’re applying for your first adult passport or applying from outside the UK.

To use both services, you’ll need to book an appointment at your nearest Passport Office.

  • To use the Online Premium service: you’ll apply and pay online. You can then book an appointment at the Passport Office, where you’ll be issued with your new passport. The Online Premium service costs £193.50 for a standard adult passport.
  • To use the Fast Track service: you’ll need to fill out a paper application form and take it with you to your appointment at your regional Passport Office, along with two passport photos and any supporting documents. You’ll pay the fee online – £155 to renew an adult passport – when you book your appointment. Your new passport will be delivered within one week of your appointment.

If you need a new passport urgently for the purposes of medical treatment or for compassionate reasons, such as the loss or serious illness of a family member or loved one, phone the Passport Advice Line on 0300 222 0000 (or +44 (0)300 222 0000 if you’re calling from outside the UK). They can advise you on the quickest way to get your passport renewed.

If you’re abroad and you don’t have time to wait to renew your passport from abroad before you travel, you can apply for an emergency travel document.

How to renew a UK passport online

The fastest and easiest way to renew your UK passport is online via the GOV.UK website. Even better, you don’t need to worry about finding a photo booth at the local shopping centre. Simply upload a digital photo, following HM Passport Office’s rules for digital photos.

If you’re not that keen on taking an appropriate smartphone image, you can still use a specialist photo shop or a photo booth. Some will give you a code that can be used to add the photo to your online application digitally.

What you’ll need to renew your UK passport online:

  • A digital photo
  • A credit or debit card
  • Your passport.

Once you’ve completed the application, you’ll need to send your old passport to HM Passport Office.

If you prefer, you can also apply using the Post Office’s Digital Check and Send service. They’ll fill out the online application form for you using the details from your current passport, check all the details and take a digital photo. They’ll also send your old passport to HM Passport Office via special delivery. The service costs £16 on top of your passport renewal fee and it’s available from certain Post Office branches. 

How to renew a UK passport by post

You can get a paper application form from either the Post Office or by phoning the Passport Advice Line on 0300 222 0000.

To renew your UK passport by post, you’ll need:

  • Two identical printed photos that follow HM Passport Office’s criteria
  • Debit or credit card or cheque
  • Your passport.

You can also use the Post Office’s Check and Send service for paper applications. Post Office staff will check your application form, to make sure it’s filled out correctly and that you have the right supporting documents, before sending on to HM Passport Office. The service costs £16 on top of your passport renewal fee.

Any supporting documents and your old passport will be sent back to you by post separately from your new passport.

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

Your previous passport will be returned to you so you can still use the visa. Just make sure you carry both your new and old passports with you when you travel.

What should I do if I’ve lost my old passport?

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must cancel it immediately. This will help prevent someone from using your passport illegally or stealing your identity. You can cancel a lost or stolen passport online via the GOV.UK website.

HM Passport Office will cancel the lost or stolen passport and notify the National Crime Agency. They will record the loss or theft on Interpol’s database of lost travel documents.

You’ll need to wait until you receive notification from HM Passport Office confirming that your passport has been cancelled before you can apply for a new one.

Once you’ve received confirmation, you can replace your passport either online or by post:

  • If you’re replacing a lost or stolen passport online, you’ll need someone to confirm your identity.
  • If you’re using a paper application to replace a lost or stolen passport, you’ll need someone to countersign your application form and one of your printed photos.

In some cases, you may need to attend an interview to replace a lost or stolen passport. You’ll be notified if you need to book an online video interview once your application has been processed.

If you find your lost passport once the cancellation process has begun, it will no longer be valid and you won’t be able to use it or apply to renew it. 

Are there any changes to British passports since Brexit?

Yes, since the Brexit transition, there are a few changes to British passports and travelling to Europe that you should know about.

The most obvious change is the colour of your new passport. New UK passports are now blue, not burgundy, and no longer display the ‘European Union’ wording on the cover.

If you still have a burgundy ‘EU’ passport, you can continue to use it up until it’s time to renew.

There are also changes to rules for travelling to Europe:

  • For travel to the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you’ll need at least three months left on your passport, and your passport needs to be less than 10 years old. If you’re travelling to Ireland, you can continue to use your passport up until the expiry date.
  • If you’re driving in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you won’t need a green card from your car insurance provider. You must have valid UK vehicle insurance though, which by law will provide third-party cover for driving in Europe. You may need an international driving permit to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have a paper driving licence, or your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.
  • The UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is now being replaced by a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). It works in pretty much the same way and lets you get state healthcare in EU countries at the same cost as residents of those countries – sometimes for free. You can still use your existing EHIC up until its expiry date. You can apply for a new GHIC card on the NHS website

Remember, the GHIC and EHIC aren’t replacements for travel insurance. They don’t cover eventualities like losing your luggage or getting you home if you’re sick. You should always make sure you have adequate travel insurance before travelling abroad. 

Frequently asked questions

Can I renew my British passport from outside the UK?

Yes, if you’re a British national, you can apply to renew your passport from overseas. The application prices and processes vary depending on your personal circumstances and where you’re applying from. Check how to renew your passport from abroad on the GOV.UK website.

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

If your passport is stolen while you’re on holiday, you’ll need to report it as soon as possible, both to the UK Home Office and to the local authorities where you’re travelling. You’ll need to file a police report, often within 24 hours, and provide a case number to your travel insurance provider to make a claim.

You will need to apply for an emergency travel document before you can travel. Read our guide to lost and stolen passports.

Can I track my UK passport application?

If you applied to renew your passport online with a digital photo or used the Post Office’s Digital Check and Send service, you can easily check on the progress of your passport application on the GOV.UK website with your application reference code.

Otherwise, you can call the Passport Advice line on 0300 222 0000 to track your application, using the 10-digit barcode number from your application form or, if you applied at the Post Office, the nine-digit number on your receipt.

Can I use a damaged passport to travel?

You may not be allowed to travel if you use a passport that is damaged and showing more than the usual signs of wear and tear. This could be the case if:

  • Any of your personal details are difficult to read
  • The laminated page is peeling and could be tampered with
  • Your passport is water damaged or stained
  • Pages from your passport are torn or missing
  • The electronic chip is exposed or damaged.  

You should apply to replace your damaged UK passport before you book any travel. In some cases, HM Passport Office might request further details on how the passport was damaged to rule out any fraudulent or criminal activity.     

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Josh Daniels – Travel insurance expert

Josh is an expert on protecting yourself while on holiday with the right travel insurance. We all go on holiday for different reasons. Some like to fly and flop, while others like to climb mountains, surf and ski. Josh knows how fun that can all be, but, with more than seven years in the insurance industry, he also knows how to cover you and your belongings while away.

Learn more about Josh

Rebecca Goodman - Insurance expert

Rebecca Goodman is a freelance financial journalist who specialises in insurance, personal finance and consumer affairs. Rebecca regularly writes for national newspapers including The Independent and The Mail on Sunday on a wide-range of financial topics. She covers everything from money-saving tips and holiday advice to investigations into how energy efficient appliances can cut the cost of household bills and the impact donating money can have on those in need. Along with features in national papers, Rebecca also writes news stories for websites including Yourmoney.com and The Money Edit.

Learn more about Rebecca

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