Applying for your babies’ or child’s first passport can be a really straight forward process, but you do need to keep things simple and there are things you need to watch out for, as The Passport Office are can be sticklers for the rules. Any mistakes made might mean you have to redo the application which might lead to missed trips or extra stress.
A couple of things you need to bare in mind, for example if the child has been born either abroad or has one or more parents that do not hold a current British passport, there may be additional documentation and/or information you will need to provide.
You can apply for a first-time passport if:
• Your child is under the age of 16
• You legally have ‘parental responsibility’ for the child either as a biological parent or as an adopted parent or guardian
• They are a British citizen, either through birth or naturalisation through parent(s)
I know these are all the not so fun parts of applying for a passport, but trust me if you get it wrong tantrums and sleepless nights will be the least of your worries. Thousands of applications every year get rejected due to bits and pieces being wrong on their applications.
You automatically have parental responsibility if you:
• Are the child’s mother
• Are the child’s father and are either on the birth certificate (after 2003) or married to the child’s mother
• Were married to the child’s mother when the child was born or, in Scotland, when the mother became pregnant
• You have applied and been granted a parental responsibility order via a court (before 2003 if unmarried to child mother)
• Have adopted the child either solely, or jointly
Baby born in the UK
In order to receive your child’s first UK passport you must first prove your child’s nationality, this is basically to ensure your child is entitled to a UK passport. So if the baby was born in the UK all you will need is their birth certificate, this will need to be the long version with both parents details, the short version will not be accepted, and if one or both parents hold UK passports, no worries, just include the parents passport details on your application.
Baby born abroad
If your child was born abroad but one or both parents are UK citizens you will need to register for British Citizenship before you apply for a UK Passport. You can do this very simply but completing the MN1 application form and sending this off. Once you have received confirmation that this has been completed you can then move forward with your passport application.
Baby born in the UK with one or more foreign parents
To help things go nice and smoothly you must first prove that they are eligible for British Nationality; this can be done by providing a full British birth/adoption or naturalisation certificate for the child. I know this all sounds complicated but if you ensure you have everything you need before you start your application is makes things a lot easier.
If neither of you were born in the UK and you do not you have British Citizenship it’s worth noting that the process will be different, and you will need to apply to the Home Office for naturalisation of your child before applying for a first British Passport.
Help with countersigning
It’s only been in the last 10 years that you’ve needed to get your baby’s passport countersigned. You’ll need to be careful about who you ask to countersign your baby’s passport application, this might sound daunting but don’t panic you can find a full and complete guide to help you make all the right decisions
Now this is where the fun really begins, we all know the main dos and don’ts of passport photos, but you try applying them to a baby or small child, well, you are in for a treat. We all know that getting your child to sit still for more than a minute is like putting man on the Moon, it takes time, patience and a lot of concentration. Once you’ve got your child in that magic position you’ll need to be aware of what The Passport Office is looking for in terms of photos and what is and isn’t acceptable.
Tips for younger children
• Children must be the only person in the photograph
• They must not be holding toys or using dummies
• Children over 6 years old have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression
• Children under 6 years old do not have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression
Tips for babies
• Lay your baby down on a white sheet rather than trying to hold your baby upright
• Position you’re your digital camera direct above the baby – this stops you having to support the baby’s head a neck while also getting a clear shot of your baby
• Use a toy directly behind the camera to try and keep your baby’s attention
• Take plenty of pictures in quick succession – this allows you to look through them and pick the most appropriate one
What documents will you need to include
The main document to include will obviously be the child’s full birth certificate, this must be the full version showing parents details, the shortened version will not be accepted. Please note that The Passport Office also does not accept copies, the documents must be originals.
If you need to get a replacement birth certificate for your child you can get one online from the General Register Office or contact your local registry office and they will have all the information you’ll need.
Documents needed from parents
You only need to send in addition documentation as a parent if:
• One or more of the parents does not currently hold a British Passport (The parents must then provide original foreign birth certificates or a passport to prove their identity and nationality)
• If a parent’s name is different to the name shown on the full birth certificate of the child. (The parent in question must provide either an original marriage certificate or deed poll confirmation to prove the legal name change).
And there you have it, all the ins and outs of passport applications for your child. I know it can come across like a challenge but it really isn’t and with your child’s passport lasting 5 years you can really sit back and relax, preferably with a nice refreshing drink and sand between your toes.
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Disclaimer: This article was in collaboration with Passports Online they can help if you need any further assistance in filling out your baby or child’s passport application.