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British Passports, A Guide for Expats

If you are wondering what do about your British passport once you make your home in another country, then this guide is for you.

Here, how to apply for a British passport and how to renew a UK passport from overseas are explained.

You can also find out what to do if your British passport is lost or stolen while you are overseas.

Getting A British Passport

British expats can apply for, renew, and update their UK passports online from anywhere in the world.

The service is cheaper online and takes around six weeks to process a first adult passport and three weeks to renew or update a passport.

If you have an urgent need for a passport, such as if a relative has dies overseas, expats can apply for a UK passport or Emergency Travel Documents from the British Embassy or consulate where they are.

Apply for a passport from the UK government web site

A standard adult UK passport costs £75.50 online.

Reporting changes in your personal life

Not every personal change need reporting to the Passport Office.

3 Reasons You Should get a new passport:

  1. You change your name
  2. Your gender changes
  3. You alter your appearance, so you are unrecognisable from your passport photo

When you update your passport, the old one and any time left is cancelled, and you will be sent a new 10-year passport.

7 Reason You do not need to update a passport::

  1. Move home or change your phone number
  2. Change your job
  3. Change your appearance by growing a beard or altering your hairstyle
  4. Get divorced or married
  5. Become a doctor or professor or otherwise change title
  6. Become a dual national with the UK and another country
  7. Leave the UK as an expat

Passport photo rules

Image take from

You need a colour digital image that is in focus and measuring 750 pixels high x 600 pixels wide. The file size should be between 50KB and 10MB.

The image should be a head-and-shoulders image in front of a plain background with nothing one else in the frame.

The image of you – from the crown of your head to your chin – must be between 29mm and 34mm high. 

The image should be no more than a month old.

Other do’s and don’ts include:

  • Face towards the camera and look down the lens
  • Keep a straight face and your mouth closed
  • Open your eyes so they are clearly visible
  • Do not cover your face, including with your hair
  • Do not cover your head except for religious or medical reasons
  • Stand away from shadows
  • Do not wear sunglasses or tinted glasses. If you wear ordinary glasses make sure your eyes are visible and the lenses are clear of glare or reflections

Good and bad examples of digital photos

Image taken from

Finding the right forms

If you are a British national applying for a UK passport from overseas, you can check the forms, prices and application details needed that apply to you online.

Reporting A Lost Or Stolen UK Passport

Lost Passport

If your passport is lost or stolen, then report the incident as soon as you can.

Go online and complete the form and make an application for a new one or Emergency Travel Documents if you need to travel within six weeks.

If you do not need to travel urgently, apply for a replacement passport which can take six weeks or more to arrive.

Cancel a lost or stolen British passport

To cancel your passport, complete the online form

Apply For Emergency Travel Documents

If you are abroad, have lost your passport but need to travel urgently, you can apply for an Emergency Travel Document.

You can ask for the document if:

  • You are British
  • You are not in the UK
  • Your passport is lost, damaged, full, has recently expired or is with a foreign embassy
  • You have no time to wait for a replacement
  • You can show your need is urgent

The application costs £100 is not refundable.

Check with your nearest British Embassy or consulate if you are eligible for Emergency Travel Documents If you are not a British citizen, but another kind of British national

Apply for an Emergency Travel Document from the UK government web site

What is an Emergency Travel Document?

The Emergency Travel Document lets the holder move between up to five countries.

Travel plans are printed on the document and if they change, you must apply for a new one.

Expats will still need visas to cross borders if they needed one with their passport.

UK Passports For Children

mother and child at the airport

British expats can apply for a UK passport for a child under 16 online from overseas.

The process is the same as for an adult passport.

Apply for a child’s UK passport

Face-to-Face UK Passport Help

If you have a problem with your UK passport that you cannot resolve online, you can try these contacts:

Contact the UK Passport Office


Open Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm

Weekends and public holidays: 9am to 5:30pm

Speak to an adviser now


From outside the UK:
+44 (0)300 222 0000

Open Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm

Weekends and public holidays: 9am to 5:30pm


HM Passport Office
PO Box 767
United Kingdom


Online inquiry form for general advice

Contact a British Embassy or consulate

List of UK Embassies and Consulates worldwide

Below is a list of related articles you may find of interest.

17 thoughts on “British Passports, A Guide for Expats”

  1. Hello good afternoon
    I need to renew my children’s passports here in Argentina ,they are UK citizens
    my question is how do i physically receive the passports here in central Argentina ,the nearest UK embassy is in the capital and i can not travel due to the covid 19 restrictions
    Thankyou .

  2. I need to get a new British passport. My old one has expired. Can I get advice on how to go about getting this done. I live in USA.

  3. Dear Sir / Madam,
    I am living in Germany and need to renew my childrens british passports. I had a look on the web site and the requirments for the confirmation of identity state that a preson living in the UK has to confirm the identity. Previously, it was sufficient for a proffensional living in Germany to do this. Is this not the case anymore? Are there any restirictions for the proffesionals confirming the identity (for example, Auntie, Uncle or close relative? )
    Thank you for you time.

    Yours sincerely

    Brion Watson

  4. How much is a UK passport renewal for someone living in Australia with an online application ??
    I cannot get this simple question answered anywhere. On the Government website you have to complete the application to find out. Does anyone know ??

  5. Hi there
    My son’s british passport has expired and is living in pakistan , can he renew it online on the uk gov website or what’s the procedure for applying

    Many thanks

  6. Our passports expire in November this year 2021 do we need to renew now? I was told to travel now I need 6 months on passport?
    Can I have the link please that’s helps us apply for new passports? We live in Fuerteventura Canary Islands

  7. I live in Jordan and would like to renew my passport.. Is the passport returned to the embassy in Amman for collection thank you

  8. As an expat, went through the UK gov online passport renewal process but my address postcode in the country I now live overseas is not accepted and the process halted.
    Cannot find an answer in the Gov Website to overcome this hindrance!
    Any suggestions ?

  9. I need to renew my British passport its not up till February i havent done it online
    before i live in the USA i used to go through the British embassy in washingtonDC
    now i believe its all done in London UK. what do i do now to renew my British passport also in dollars what does it cost for a British passport. can i get a passport
    picture at a pharmacy drugstore a regular picture. I have called your number and then i get cut off.Thank you.

    • I did my uk passport online. My passport expired 5 years ago… I live in the USA and am duel citizen. I then had to send my old passport and copies of all the pages of my USA passport to the passport office in Durham us. It cost me $140 and it cost a fortune to send via UPS with tracking and signature required at other end. You can also track with the passport office with the reference info they send you. I took my pic on my iPhone and had to do 3 attempts. They let you know when you upload it, if it is acceptable.
      Now I just wait. And wait. And wait. Lol

  10. How does one get a code for a digital photo. i was told the photo shops here in the US do not have codes for passport photos. Also need inches and dollars equivalent to UK metric measurements and pounds.

  11. I am living in Australia and wish to apply for a new British passport my old one
    expired a few years ago .My question is can i include my wife on my passport as
    a family passport

  12. As all previous passports have now expired, all Australian passports are now biometric. The embedded chip stores the owner’s digitised photograph, name, sex, date of birth, nationality, passport number, and the passport expiry date. This is the same information that appears on the printed information page of every

  13. I am a UK resident living and working in the Netherlands , I tried the online application and got to the payment section , I do not have a credit card but a Bank transfer App , I tried to transfer but It would not except , if I send by post do I have to send pound sterling .

  14. Hi, my colleague from UK is looking to apply for a second UK passport while living in Dubai.
    Can anyone assist to provide advice on how to do it? Any UK agency or provider who can assist with this application.
    Thank you


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