Children & Urgent Appointments
We receive many questions from concerned parents' in relation to children's appointments for urgent Fast-Track 7 Day Services, this article aims to address many of these common questions to help you when planning the renewal or first time application for your child under the age of 16 years.
For the avoidance of doubt we confirm that HM Passport Office classes a child as any individual under the age of 16 years. If an individual who is 16 year or older is applying it will be classed as an adult application.
Are children required to attend appointments?
A common question that is asked is does my child have to attend an urgent appointment with the parent, the answer is no. A parent or guardian is the only one that is required to attend an urgent appointment on behalf of a child under 16. This has always been in place to ensure as well as due to legal rights of the individual but also so that parents do not have to take them out of school during term time(s).
However if the child is 16 years or older they are then classed as an adult in the eyes of the passport agency, see more below.
If the parent who signs the form is not the one attending
When attending an urgent service, the parent attending is required to bring a completed application form (which you can obtain from any large town Post Office), as well as any additional supporting documents which can differ from application to application.
When booking an urgent appointment, you are required to state the name of the parent or attendee that will be attending on behalf of the child. However, if this attendee is not the parent who has signed the application form, the other parent or friend attending must have a signed, dated letter of permission from the parent who has signed the child's application form to show the office when attending. (This is still the case even if it is the other parent is present on the child's birth certificate). You can see an example of the required letter below:
Can my infant or child still attend the appointment?
Yes, if you wish to bring a child under the age of 16 with you to the appointment you are more than welcome to do so, the rules above are only in place to make the process easier for parents attending, however they are still able to accompany you if preferred. (Please note that this is not the case with children/adults over the age of 15 they will be refused entry as they are classes as adults once they turn 16 years of age).
Children aged 16 do not need parent's permission to apply for a passport.
Once a child turns 16 they are seen as an adult in the eyes of the passport agency, therefore they will need to both fill in the application form and sign it themselves, they will also need to be the one who attends the appointment (unless they have nominated someone else such as a parent to attend on their behalf).
Giving permission for a parent to attend
Even though a child is aged under 18 years of age, if they are between 16-17 and a parent wishes to attend an urgent appointment for many reasons such as travel and school/college terms times, they will still need to give the attending party a signed, dated letter of permissions to attend on their behalf. This letter will need to reference full names as shown in the example below:
I am finding it very difficult to take a photo of my small child or infant
When taking photos of small children or infants HM Passport Office is not as strict with the requirements as with adults, for example they will accept the following within the age ranges:
• Children under 6 don't have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression.
• Children under one don't have to have their eyes open. You can support their head with your hand, but your hand must not be visible in the photo.
However the requirements for no third party being in the photos can still make it difficult for parents to get them in a sensible position without showing in the photo themselves. If your child is young our advice is to lay them down on a clear white or light grey sheet, then to take a photo from above this way the child will be the only person in the frame of the photo and it will also help getting them to look directly at the camera with eyes fully open.
You can also see some further guidance with our passport photo guide