I Can't Find Anyone To Countersign My Application, What Can I Do?
For passport applicants finding someone who can countersign their passport application can be a daunting task. However, many applicants are unaware of the rules and guidelines around this crucial part of your application, this is leading to many applications being refused and customers spending excessive amounts of money and time on redoing their passport applications.
The only way to reduce the amount of errors on your passport application is to have all the facts you need in one place, laid out in a clear and concise manner. If you are applying for a first time UK Passport or simply renewing your existing UK Passport we have all the information you'll need regarding a countersignature on your application.
Do I need my application countersigned?
You may not be aware, but not all passport applications need to be countersigned. It all depends on what type of passport you are applying for. So before panic sets in about finding someone suitable to countersign your passport have a look here first to see if it is even necessary.
You will only need someone to countersign your passport if one of the following applies:
• First adult passport
• First child passport
• Replacement for a lost, stolen or damaged passport
• Renewal of a passport for a child aged 11 or under
• Renewal of a passport if your appearance has changed and you can't be recognized from your existing passport (significant changes only i.e. facial surgery, large beard etc)
You do not need someone to countersign your passport if you are:
• Renewing your existing passport
• Changing your name
Yes, I need my application countersigned, what to do next.
Once you have established that you need your passport application countersigned you know need to know what your counter signatory will need to do and be.
Your counter signatory must:
• Have known the person applying (or the adult who signed the form if the passport is for a child under 16) for at least 2 years
• Be able to identify the person applying, e.g. they're a friend, neighbour or colleague (not just someone who knows them professionally)
• Be 'a person of good standing in their community' or work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession
They can't be closely-related to or involved with the person applying, eg:
• Related by birth or marriage
• Be in a relationship with or live at the same address as the person applying
Many people use to be able to contact their GP to countersign their passports but due to high demand this is not longer accepted by HM Passport Office, as many surgeries were previously inundated with requests. However if you know a close friend who is a doctor or medical professional this is permitted.
If you are applying for your passport within the UK
Your counter signatory must:
• Live in the UK
• Have a current British or Irish passport
If you are applying for your passport outside of the UK
Your counter signatory must have a current British, Irish or other EU, US or Commonwealth passport.
If they have a US, Commonwealth, or non-British or non-Irish EU passport, you must include with your application a colour photocopy of the page with their photograph on it. Your application will be processed faster if they have a British or Irish passport.
What does the counter signatory need to do with your application?
After you've filled in the form and gathered any and all of your supporting documents and included your two passport sized photos, your counter signatory must check the details are correct and sign it.
By signing it they are confirming that:
• They've known you for more than 2 years
• You're who you claim to be
• As far as they know, all the information you've put on the form is true
Your counter signatory must put their passport number on the form, if they do not have a valid passport then your application will be rejected.
What does the counter signatory need to write in your photo?
Your counter signatory should write the following on the back of one photo:
"I certify that this is a true likeness of [title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport]."
They must add their signature and the date under the statement.
Please do not sign the photos yourself, they will not be accepted and will significantly increase your waiting time.
Who can countersign my application?
This is a full and complete version of everyone that can legally countersign your passport application. Over the years this list has changed and evolved slightly, so please make sure you are looking at the most recent list available.
• airline pilot
• articled clerk of a limited company
• assurance agent of recognised company
• bank/building society official
• chairman/director of limited company
• commissioner for oaths
• councillor, e.g. local or county
• civil servant (permanent)
• director/manager/personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
• engineer - with professional qualifications
• financial services intermediary, e.g. a stockbroker or insurance broker
• fire service official
• funeral director
• insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
• Justice of the Peace
• legal secretary - fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and Pas
• licensee of public house
• local government officer
• manager/personnel officer of a limited company
• member, associate or fellow of a professional body
• Member of Parliament
• Merchant Navy officer
• minister of a recognised religion - including Christian Science
• nurse - RGN or RMN
• officer of the armed services
• paralegal - certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals
• person with honours, e.g. an OBE or MBE
• photographer - professional
• police officer
• Post Office official
• president/secretary of a recognised organisation
• Salvation Army officer
• social worker
• teacher, lecturer
• trade union officer
• travel agent - qualified
• valuer or auctioneer - fellows and associate members of the incorporated society
• Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers
People who are not accepted:
• work for HM Passport Office
• be a doctor, unless they state that they know you well (e.g. good friend) and that they recognize you easily from your photo
Please note: It is a criminal offence to make false declarations on your passport information, so please ensure all information is complete and correct.
Applying for or renewing your UK Passport doesn't have to be a stressful process, as long as you have all the correct information to hand it really can be quite easy.
For any further assistance with your passport application see our main blog or call the number below.