February 5, 2016

Applying for a passport

As mentioned below, the last piece of immigration related paperwork which hopefully I’ll have to do for some time was applying for a British passport.

Compared to all of the previous forms I have completed, the passport application wasn’t particularly notable. There were two pages of the kind of basic identification questions that you would expect. Because the same paper form serves several purposes, you need to read the instruction book carefully. Depending on how you claim British citizenship, you complete different sections. For example, some people need to provide the details of their grandparents. Other people, like me, complete a section with the details of their naturalisation certificate.

The last page is for someone to confirm that the person competing the form is the person in the picture. As is the usual case for many British forms, the person competing that section needs to be a “professional” like a solicitor or a civil servant.

Unlike in the US where you need to go in person to a post office to apply, in the UK you can just mail your application to the passport office. However, after the passport office processes your application, you need to attend an interview. This interview is an extra check to confirm your identity. In my opinion, it would be easier to do this upfront when you submit your application like in the US and then just wait while they process everything behind the scenes rather than have the hassle associated with booking an interview in the middle of the process with the extra days that adds to the process.

One thing to note is that you will be without your existing passport and naturalisation certificate for part of the process. In my case I was without them for two and a half weeks.

An unfortunate coincidence is that my American passport happens to expire this July. As both passports are good for ten years, it means that in 2026 I’ll have to renew both of them. It would have been nice to have them staggered a little bit more.