Applying for a Baby Passport

All UK citizens, no matter what age, are required by law to produce a valid passport when travelling abroad and children under 16 years of age since October 1998 have had to have their own passport.  (Those children who are already included on their parent’s passports will continue to be valid until the adult passport date expires or the child reaches the age of 16).

A child’s passport lasts for five years and will need to be renewed every five years until they reach the age of 16. They will then be eligible to apply for an adult passport of 10 years.

With more families travelling abroad now than ever before this is one of those ‘things to do’ that needs to be placed high on your to do list.  Making sure you give yourself plenty of time for the documents to be sent off and the passport to arrive in time for your trip abroad.

Keep one step ahead with your baby passport

  • Try and apply for passports in the quiet months and not during the peak times.
  • Double check you have all documents required before you post off your application.
  • Send documents special delivery to ensure they do not get lost.

How and Where you Can Apply for a Baby Passport

  • Apply online here http://www.ips.gov.uk/passport/application-request.asp  for an application form to be sent to you by post.
  • Fill in an application form on line here https://www.ips.gov.uk/epa1r1a/index.aspx?c=1
  • Call the Identity and Passport Service for a form. (0870 521 0410 calls cost 8p a minute)
  • The Post Office. One filled in the application form along with your documents and photographed can be checked by some post offices that offer the ‘check and send’ service before being sent off. 
    • Please note that the one day premium service at IPS offices is NOT available for first time passport applications.

Application forms must be counter signed by a professional that has known you for 2 or more years and all photographs are to be signed on the back.

Documentation and Requirements Needed for Baby Passport

  • Original and full birth certificate of child with names of both mother and father.
  • Original Adoption certificate if applicable.              
    • The Identity and Passport service adds that all documents are to be original to prove the child is British and a birth certificate is not absolute proof of identity.  They may ask for further documentation depending on where the child was born.
  • Proof of parent’s nationality or immigration status such as a birth certificate of one parent, a passport or a Home Office certification of their registration.
  • Two identical photographs of the child.  These need to be recent ones taken at least within the last 4 weeks.
  • Payment of £46 for the passport (correct as of May 2008 - please check for latest)

Guidelines on Photographs

All photographs are to be adhered to the strict guidelines laid down which include:

  • Photos’ must be taken against an off white, light grey or cream plain background.
  • Sizes must be 45mm in height and 35mm in width.  Professional photographs are strongly advised.
  • Photos’ are to have no toys, dummies or other peoples’ hands in view. (If you use a passport photo booth to get your child’s picture, place the child in a car seat and hold on the stool.  Something plain like a white towel placed over the car seat will take away any patterns or colours.
  • All of the child’s face is to be completely displayed and eyes must be open.  IPS understands inasmuch they realise it may be difficult to have your child look at the camera with a closed mouth and will usually make exceptions. (Don’t forget to get the photos’ signed on the back by a professional who has known you for 2 years).

The time it takes for your child’s passport to arrive can be anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.  It is recommended that you allow at least 6 weeks from first applying for your passport till you travel.

Other Countries

  • Individual passports for children have been in force in Ireland since October 2004. This was done to reduce the risk of child trafficking and kidnapping.
  • Up to the age of three in Ireland you can get a three year passport and between three and seventeen you can be issued with a five year passport.
  • In the Czech Republic the passport law applies to children up to the age of 15.
  • All persons aged 7 and over in Estonia are required to have their own passport.
  • In the United States it has been law for ALL persons entering the country to hold their own individual passport, irrespective of how old they are since October 2004.

Baby Passport Tips

  • Have your child’s photograph changed if it no longer looks like them as they grow.
  • When travelling alone with your child it may help to have consent papers from the absent parent.  This is really a ‘just in case’ if your surname is different to that on your child’s passport. (If in doubt contact the consulate of the country you are planning to visit).
  • Always take photocopies of all passports and all other documents.  Have one set in your hand luggage and leave another set with somebody back home.
  • Some countries require passports to have a mimimum period of six months before the expiry date.
  • Take a note of your passport details such as number, date and place of issue.
  • Always make use of any room safes or ask the hotel to place it in their safe for you.
  • If you lose your passport or in the unlikely event it gets stolen, contact the nearest British Consulate or Embassy immediately.
  • Keep all documents in a waterproof folder in your hand luggage.