Thinking of going abroad for the first time? The rules for applying for your first passport have changed. Find out more.
Applying for your first British passport?
- If you’re under 16 then you need to apply for a child passport valid for five years. The procedure is pretty simple and there won’t be an interview.
- If you’re 16, or very nearly 16, then you can apply for an adult passport which lasts for 10 years. In this case, the new interview rules will apply to you.
Already have a British passport?
- If you already have a child passport and are turning 16 you can apply for an adult one even before the child one has expired. As it’s your first adult passport, you’ll need to go for an interview.
- You’ll also have to attend an interview if your name was included in one of your parent’s passport and you now want your own adult passport.
The Identity & Passport Service (IPS) – that’s the Home Office branch that issue passports, are introducing interviews for everyone that is applying for their first adult passport.
This means it might take a bit longer than before to get your documents. The recommended time to apply is about 6 weeks before you are going away. This is quite a lot longer than before (about 4 weeks longer in fact), so it is really important to plan ahead, well in advance of your trip.
In fact it might be worth not booking your flight until you have your passport. You don’t want to have a ticket for that trip to Majorca and no passport to go with now do you?
Why are they needed?
Identity fraud and passport forgeries are becoming more sophisticated, and more common. This means someone could forge a passport using your name or details! These passports can then be used for illegal immigration, ID theft and benefit frauds. Interviews are therefore a way to make sure that the person applying for the passport is really you.
- Get together all the documents you will need
- Fill in the standard application
- Send it off by post or ‘Check & Send’
Regional passport offices then check your identity by using the electoral roll and address histories – your “biographical footprint” This forms part of the identity interview.
You will then receive a letter to call for an appointment – there are 68 offices to choose from.
The interview will take about half an hour and will be fairly relaxed so don’t panic!
During the interview you will be asked to confirm facts about yourself which someone attempting to steal your identity may not know.
All personal information used in the interview is destroyed shortly after the passport is issued.
Once again, remember to apply for your passport well in advance. Enjoy your trip!