Adult Passport Renewal, Do I need a Counter-Sign?

When renewing your adult passport and you are only renewing due to either an expired passport or passport that is due to expire in the near future many customers are not aware that the counter-signatory part of the application process is often not required unless you have changed significantly since your previous (most current) passport photo.

This article aims to help you assess if you passport application requires any form of counter-signatory for your form and passport size photographs.

When do I need my passport counter-signed?

The only time it is a requirement to get one of your photos and your form counter-signed is when your application meets the following:

1) If your passport is damaged (beyond reasonable wear and tear)

This includes things like water damage, rips tears and anything written on the inside pages or cover, if you think your passport falls within the category you can see our damaged passport guide.

2) If you passport is lost or stolen

If you have either misplaced your passport lost it at home or in public then you will need to get a counter-signatory to sign your application and one of your photos.

Please also note that when your passport is lost or stolen you will need to ensure that you report it online here: Report Lost Passport Online

If you passport was stolen the police may also have given you a crime reference number which you can provide when reporting your passport stolen on the above link.

3) If you are applying for a first time or renewing an existing passport for a child under the age of 12 years.

When renewing a childs passport due to the fact that they often change significantly from the ages of 1-11 you will need to find a counter-signatory.

Please note however that the counter signer in the case of a child does not need to have know the child for two years, but needs to confirm that they have known the parent applying on behalf of the child for 2 or more years.

What changes in appearance do require a counter-sign?

Ok, since your application is just a renewal in 99% of cases the counter-signatory is not required. However if your appearance has changed significantly since your old (most current passport) photo then you will need a counter-signatory. In order to help you establish this we have provided a list of the changes that can cause you to need a counter-signatory for your passport application as follows:

1) If there is an age gap more than 20 years or if you were a small child/infant when you last had a passport and are now an adult.

2) If you have made any significant changes to your facial hair for example if you had a large beard and now you are clean shaven.

3) If you were wearing glasses in your last passport photo and now use contact lenses.

4) If you have had a great deal of weight loss/gain and now it would be difficult to recognise you from your old passport photo.

5) If you have had facial surgery that would now cause your facial features such as eyes, mouth, nose to appear different than in your previous photo.

Common small changes that do not require a counter-signatory:

(X) If you have changed your hair style or length since your last photo.

(X) If your hair colour has changed since your last photo.

(X) If you have small/fashion style facial hair changes for example small beard, mustache etc.

(X) If you have changed style of glasses and still wear glasses in your new photo.

We hope that this article will help you assess if you do require a counter-signatory for your application, however if you have any further questions please feel free to contact us.

Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 9am-5:30pm

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