Changing Times for the UK Passport Service
The UK passport service is changing. In 2007, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office produced passports for British nationals overseas in over 90 embassies, High Commissions and Consulates around the world. This service was costing over £8 million.
European Union Passport
As a result, 7 regional passport processing centers were created – in Paris, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, Madrid, Pretoria, Washington, Wellington and the Passport Office in Dublin. This is why British nationals applying for a passport from overseas apply to one of these centers, rather than direct to their local embassy as used to be the case. However, though passport applications are made to the new regional passport centers, since 2006, they have been printed in the UK, for both UK and overseas customers, for security and cost effectiveness. After printing, they are couriered directly to the applicant. Documents submitted in support of the application, such as birth certificates and previous passports, are returned separately. Both shipments are handled by DHL worldwide. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) in the UK took over responsibility for the overseas passport operation from 1 April, 2011. By 2014, the complete passport operation is scheduled to move back to the UK, at which point applicants overseas will apply directly to the IPS in the UK. There will then be one passport service for all British nationals, whether they live in the UK or overseas. The aim is thus for all British passports to be produced in the UK. Integrating the overseas passport service into the IPS is designed to reduce the cost of maintaining a passport operation overseas, while allowing secure passports to be offered British nationals abroad. At present, then, the Regional Passport Processing Center in Paris (the “UK in France”) provides passport services for British nationals applying from many countries outside the UK, including Israel.
Who is Entitled to Apply for a British Passport?
1) You must have British nationality to get a British passport, i.e. you must be a British citizen, British overseas citizen, British subject, British national (overseas). 2) Even if you were born outside the United Kingdom, you can still be a British citizen.
(a) If you were born outside the United Kingdom before 1.1.1983
If you were born outside the United Kingdom before 1 January 1983, you became a British citizen if, immediately before that date, you were a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and had the ‘right of abode’ in the United Kingdom, i.e. you are entirely free from UK Immigration Control and don’t need permission from an Immigration Officer to enter the UK, and can live and work in the UK without restriction. This includes people who were born in the UK; were born in a British colony and had the right of abode in the UK; were naturalised in the UK; registered as a citizen of the UK; or could prove legitimate descent from a father to whom one of the foregoing applies. (i.e. you were adopted, naturalised or registered as a citzen of the UK; you legally settled in the UK and were ordinarily resident there for 5 years; or you were born, or you had a parent who was a citizen of the UK because s/he was born, adopted, naturalised or registered in the UK, or because one of your grandparents was). You may have had citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent from a father who had that citizenship, or because you were registered or naturalised as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
(b) If you were born outside the United Kingdom after 1.1.1983
If you were born on or after 1 January 1983, you will be a British citizen if your mother or father was either:
- a British citizen when you were born;
- ‘settled’ in the UK when you were born.
In most cases you will be a British citizen if your mother or father was born or naturalised in the UK. If you were born before July 2006, your father’s British nationality will pass to you only if he was married to your mother at any time. British citizenship may descend to one generation born abroad. So if you were born outside the United Kingdom and one of your parents was a British citizen otherwise than by descent, you are a British citizen by descent. If you were born before 1 July 2006 you may not qualify if your parents were not married at the time of your birth. If you were born outside the United Kingdom and your parents were British citizens by descent, you are not a British citizen. However, you may be able to apply to register as a British citizen.
Documents to Submit with Completed Passport Application Form
The correct passport application form on the UK in France website must be completed, and the correct supporting documents must be sent with the completed form, two passport quality and size photographs and the appropriate fee. Supporting Documents Passport renewals with name changes through marriage or adoption will need to include their marriage/adoption certificate. Any other name changes to be taken into consideration during the renewal of a passport will need to be properly documented, including proof that the name is being used regularly – such as bank statements, mortgage papers, driving licence, utility bills etc. If you are a first time applicant and you think you are eligible for a British passport, you should provide as much supporting documentation as possible to demonstrate your claim. First time applicants will need to demonstrate their identity and eligibility for a British passport. The type of documents required to prove this are:
Always Required (Mandatory) (if it applies to you):
- Full birth certificate/s* (the UK and some other countries do a long version – with parents’ details, or short version – with just the details of the person born. The long version is required for your passport application).
- The original (i.e. manuscript) marriage certificate
- Any original (i.e. manuscript) divorce certificates
- Adoption certificate/papers
- Deed Poll or other name change documents
- Parent(s) Certificate of Naturalisation/Registration (where applicable)
- A copy of your (non-UK) passport if you have one
- For applications for children aged under 16 – legalised copies of both parents passports signed to indicate consent for the application
Documents Sometimes Requested:
- Driving licence
- National identity card or document
- Educational certificates or enrolment papers
- Student ID card
- Baptism certificate/records
- Medical/hospital records/evidence
- Death certificate (of relevant family member)
- Passport of other nationality (if relevant)
- Bank/financial records
- Utility bills
- Relevant affidavits
- Travel records – airline ticket stubs etc
- Immigration records
- Family photographs
Documents required will depend on the circumstances of the application. ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED and will be returned to you. This list is not exhaustive and local procedures and availability of documents will vary. You will need to carefully consider the basis for your claim and provide the appropriate documents. For example, if the claim is based on birth in the UK prior to 1983 or to parents legally settled in the UK after that date the applicant should supply UK Birth certificate; any hospital, medical or baptismal records from the UK; evidence of your parents stay in the UK such as employment or study records, immigration records – such as stamps in passports; airline ticket stubs, family photographs from the UK and over the years demonstrating the relationship. The onus is on you to confirm your identity and so demonstrate your eligibility. Any documents which might be helpful in the assessment of this should be included – using a commonsense approach. Key documents/firm evidence is required not vast quantities of extra evidence such as university thesis or whole albums of photographs. If you are called for an interview you may be asked to bring or can bring along further evidence. If you are renewing a passport you will need to send in your old passport. Supporting documentation is not required for renewal of valid or recently expired passports. The exception is where you have naturalised or registered as a British Citizen; in this case a copy of your certificate of naturalisation or registration is required. If your passport expired over 10 years ago your application will be treated as a first time application, otherwise it will be classed as “recently” expired and dealt with as a renewal.
IMPORTANT NOTE: All mandatory legal documents submitted with a passport application (such as birth/death/marriage certificates, divorce papers, change of name documents, affidavits, etc) must be translated into English. A list of officially recognised translators appears on the UK in France website. They include: http://ukinfrance.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/consular/2010/tel-aviv-translators-3 http://ukinjerusalem.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/word/tr You cannot get a friend or relative to translate documents for you into English. Photos Photos must meet IPS standards. These can be found at: http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/@travel/documents/digitalasset/dg_174925.pdf.
In particular, two identical, colour photos, of a high quality, must be sent with your application, each photo taken against a plain cream or plain light grey background. One photo must be endorsed by a countersignatory, by writing on the back of the photograph the words: “I certify that this is a true likeness of (name of applicant),” followed by his/her signature and the date on which the likeness was compared. When you have completed the form, someone who has known you personally for at least two years should complete and sign Section 9 of the form. That person should be a British citizen, Irish national, EU national, other British national or Commonwealth citizen who is a Member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion, Bank Officer, Established Civil Servant, or professionally qualified person, e.g. Lawyer, Engineer, Doctor, School Teacher, Police Officer, or a person of similar standing. Procedures include a check on the authenticity of countersignatories. If you do not know a British national, Irish national, EU citizen, or other Commonwealth citizen locally with these qualifications, a citizen of the country in which you are residing may complete and sign the form, provided he/she has a similar standing in that country, has known you for two years and the Passport Manager considers his/her signature to be acceptable. A member of your family should not countersign. In certain cases you may be asked to produce further documentary evidence of identity. The countersignatory is required to certify that the applicant (whose signature appears in Section 8) has been known personally to him/her for ___ years, and that to the best of his/her knowledge and belief the facts stated on this form are correct. Alongside his signature, the countersignatory affirms that he is a British Citizen / Citizen of (insert country), and states his professional qualifications, including Name of firm, business address or official stamp (if applicable). Your application should be sent by secure means such as registered post or a courier (one-way only) to the Regional Passport Processing Centre Paris, at 16 rue d’Anjou 75008, Paris, France. The requisite fee varies, depending on the number of pages in the passport. Each customer is also required to pay a courier fee (currently, 26 Euros) to cover the cost of returning supporting documents from Paris and the return of the passport from the UK. You should pay by credit card using the debit/credit card payment form in the UK in France website. Payment should include the appropriate passport fees as well as the fees for return postage. Cash must not be sent, and nor may personal cheques. Passport renewals can normally be processed within 4 weeks from the date the fee is taken and the application contains all of the information needed. Failure to provide all of the required documentation will result in your application being delayed or returned. If it is a first time application, or you are replacing a lost or stolen passport, you should allow at least six weeks. Travel should not be booked until a passport has been issued and received by you. It goes without saying that the form must be filled out in English. Any forms not in English will be rejected and returned.
Useful Tip: If you cannot find the information you need on the UK in France website, you can contact the Passport Information line at +44 208 082 4729 (Credit Card Line – calls will be charged at £0.72 per minute plus VAT), 21:00 Sunday UK time – 01:30 Saturday UK time (24 hour service). While you will be charged for this call, from experience it is a very helpful service, and clarifies exactly which documents you need to send in case of doubt! For further information, on the process of applying for a British passport, see http://ukinfrance.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/passports/
For further assistance in translating and notarising documents for the British passport application/renewal process, feel free to contact Simon at: ++972-737-40-60-40 / ++972-0545-742-374 / firstname.lastname@example.org. It is Simon’s policy to charge only for the notarisation process at the rate prescribed by law in the case of a notarised translation, with no additional cost for undertaking the actual translation of documents, wherever possible. Simon is a certified translator with the British Consulate in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, and the UK in France. * In the event that a Hebrew birth certificate requires an official translation into English, call us and we will explain how this can be obtained free of charge!