We're so excited to plan holidays at the moment with our families, but new babies can mean extra confusion when you're trying to organise what you need to go away.
A child of any age must have a child passport to travel abroad. We've got all you need to know to apply for your baby's first British passport, to have you completely ready for all your summer travel plans.
How To Get A Passport For Your Baby
If you're British and taking your baby on holiday you'll have to apply for a British passport. The person who applies for the passport will need parental responsibility for the baby, so if you're separated it's best to have both parents consenting to apply.
You can apply online using your email address, with documents that you can print out and send. You might prefer to collect the documents from the Post Office, who will also check and post your form out when you've done it at a small additional cost, or request a form from the government website, which will be posted to you.
To apply you will have to have the following for your baby:
The application documents, fully completed.
Your baby's birth certificate.
Two photos that are identical, passport-sized and in colour.
One of the photos must be signed by a professional person who knows your baby and you.
Original birth certificate and passport details from mum and dad, providing your child's parents are British - this is to prove that your baby is British.
How Much Does A Baby Passport Cost?
To apply for your child's first passport, you will pay a £49 fee for the documents to be processed. If you collect the documents from the Post Office it will cost £58.50, as you pay a little extra for the check and send service they offer.
How To Take A Baby Passport Photo
The easiest way to get your baby's photos ready for their British passport is to ask a local photographer, pharmacy or camera shop, as many offer this service for a small charge. This is great if you're worried about getting the photo right.
If you are going to take the photos of your baby, you must use a digital camera and use an online service that will make them into UK passport photos and send them to you.
We don't recommend you use the usual photo booths with your child as you might for an adults passport photo because it can be a lot trickier to get the correct shot.
For the passport, you’ll need to make sure the photos of your child fits all of the criteria when they apply. If they don't, you'll have your application sent back to you, and you'll have to apply online all over again. The requirements are:
- The photos must be 45mm high, and 35mm wide.
- Two photos must be completely identical.
- The photo cannot be cut from a larger photo.
- Professional quality, in focus and clear and in colour.
- They must be on plain photo paper and have no borders, and have been taken in the last 30 days.
- There cannot be any tears, creases or marks on the photos.
- You can't use any editing software on the photos.
- Photos for passports should have a background that's either light grey or plain cream.
- The photos should be separated from each other and the forms.
- The should be a close-up shot of the full head and shoulders of your child, with no other people or objects in the shot. This also includes any grown-up hands supporting the baby.
- The only difference between adult and children's photos is that if your child is under six years old, they don't need to be looking at the camera directly, or have a neutral expression on their face. If your child is under one year old when you apply, they can have their eyes closed, but must not be holding a toy or using a dummy.
When Do I Need To Get It?
It can take up to two months for a passport for your child to be processed. If all goes well, it should only take three or four weeks to apply, but it's better to be safe than sorry, especially at peak holiday times like the summer holidays.
If you've left it too late or booked your holiday with less time to spare, there is a one-week fast-track service you can use, that costs £87. To do this, you will need to make an appointment with the British Passport Office. Sometimes you'll have to wait up to three weeks for the appointment, and another seven days for the passport.
How Long Does A Child Passport Last?
A British child passport will last for five years, and after that, you'll need a renewal passport for your child to travel again. Passport renewal for children should hopefully be a lot easier than the first time you apply.
Emily has lived in London for ten years, and still loves discovering new places to explore in the capital with her two little brothers. She loves all things lifestyle and fashion, she is a fashion designer and artist, as well as working with arts charities to facilitate workshops and outreach on crafts, fashion, and design for children with special needs and children with difficult home lives who might otherwise not have access, from toddlers to teenagers. Emily is also a trained life coach and loves talking and writing about general wellness, mindfulness and healthy relationships.