It sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Getting your baby’s first passport should be a breeze, but actually it’s a bit more than a tick box exercise. However, with this guide you’ll easily get it sorted. Promise.
I guess before I give my advice I should point out that I’m referring to a UK passport. I recently got Nova’s first one ready for his upcoming adventure to The Netherlands. So much excitement!
#1 Register Their Birth
If you’re on a tight turnaround (like we were) it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to have registered your baby’s birth first. It’s pretty easy to do this (find out how here), but you will need to make an appointment with your local register office, so get booked in asap.
Once done it’s quite nice as it makes them official! Oh and you’ll then have their birth certificate.
#2 Complete the Application Form
You have two choices. You can either complete the form online or by hand. If you want to go down the handwritten route, you can get the form from your local Post Office. Besides filling in the correct info in the right boxes, make sure you use black ink and stay in the lines. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to mess it up (especially when you’ve got baby brain!).
I went down the online route. You can find the form here. The main perk is that you’ll be prompted to fill in the relevant boxes, so you’re less likely to miss one. You also don’t need to worry about your dodgy handwriting or using the wrong colour ink. Oh and there’s also the joy of using ‘backspace’ when you do make a typo!
Even when you’ve completed the online form and hit ‘submit’ you’ll need to print a copy. You can save your form and email it to a friend if you don’t have a printer.
It’s worth flagging that you’ll need to collect quite a bit of info about your family, such as middle names of your parents and in-laws, the date they got married etc. It’s a bit of faff, but I guess it’s one way to get to know the in-laws a bit better!
#3 Pay the Fee
At the moment it costs £46 for a child’s first passport. If you use the Post Office Check and Send Service (where they double check your form for you) it costs £55.75.
If you use the online form you’ll be prompted to pay (online) in order to submit your application.
#4 Sign the Form
Whether you use the postal or online service you’ll need to sign your baby’s application on their behalf.
You’ll also need to get it countersigned. This means getting a professional (accountant, teacher, doctor etc) who has known you for at least two years to sign the form, as well as filling in some of the details on the form.
#5 Snap a Pic
Besides the usual passport photo requirements to think about, the current guidelines state:
- Children must be on their own in the picture.
- Babies must not be holding toys or using dummies.
- Children under 6 don’t have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression.
- Children under 1 don’t have to have their eyes open. If their head is supported by a hand, the hand mustn’t be visible in the photo.
So, I’d recommend two options. The first is to take the photo at home and then get it printed at one of the photo machines you see in places like Tesco. It must be of high quality so you’ll probably need to use a proper camera, rather than your phone.
We put Nova on a white fleecy blanket on the floor, lying on his back. We then just snapped a million photos in the hope that one would look ok. Babies can pull so many old man expressions in the space of just a few seconds, so it’s best to take more than less!
We then popped to Max Spielmann in our local Tesco. They resized the photo to the correct passport size, ensuring his head fulfilled the specified measurements, and then printed six of them for us for £3. They also guarantee the resized photo is the correct size, which is reassuring.
Your second option is to take your little one to your local photo shop and let them do the work. Again, Max Spielmann offer this service. Monica used this option with George and she’d recommend it.
#6 Post Your App
You’ll need to post your signed application form, passport pic, birth certificate and any other supporting documents.
At the time of writing the website says it should take three weeks for you to get your passport back, but Nova’s was back within a week.
#7 Book Trips
Now you’ve got your baby’s passport it’s time for the fun to begin! Book those trips and look forward to adventures with your little explorer!