First Time Passports & Foreign Parents

For most people applying for a first time passport your nationality isn't ever a problem, as usually you apply for a passport in the country you were born in. However, with hundreds of thousands of people moving to different countries around the world to start a new life for themselves suddenly your nationality and your eligibility are now big questions.

We have compiled this guide to help those who are applying for either their first time adult passport or first time child passport, if either the applicant or parents of the applicant were not originally born in the United Kingdom.


The most important thing you need to remember when applying is that in order to apply for a British passport you have to meet certain criteria, and as global security has increased dramatically in recent years it is key that you have all the right information to hand. To meet these criteria you must be one of the following;

• British citizen
• British overseas territory citizen
• British overseas citizen
• British subject
• British National (overseas)
• British protected person

If you are unsure if any of these apply to you, you can now check online. Many people may be unsure exactly where their citizenship lies, so before you make any applications see where you stand.

If you need more help or information on becoming a British citizen before you apply for your UK Passport then you will need to speak to the Home Office they can help you on either how to become a British citizen or on how to register as a British citizen.

Once you have clarified your citizenship or your naturalisation you can then move on to applying for your first British passport. Make sure you keep all of these documents in a safe place as you will need these for your application.

Were your parents born outside of the UK?

If both parents were born after 31 December 1982 or were both born outside the UK you will need to provide extra information on your passport application.

This includes;
• The full name, town and country of birth along with the date of marriage of your mother/parent 1 or father/parent 2 or,

• Details of your parents claim to British nationality
• Date & certificate of registration (the date you became British)
• Certificate number and where it was issued (from the Home Office)

If you were born in the UK before 1 January 1983

You became a British citizen on 1 January 1983 if both of the following apply:

• You were a citizen of the UK and Colonies
• Can live and work in the UK without restriction
• You had the 'right of abode' in the UK

'Right of abode' means you: Are entirely free from UK Immigration Control and don't need permission from an Immigration Officer to enter the UK

Please note that step-parents are not accepted as a legal parent for the purpose of nationality.

Does either parent not hold a British Passport?

If your child has a British birth certificate then applying for a UK passport is slightly more straight-forward, you continue with your application as normal, but if either parent were born outside of the UK or do not currently hold a British Passport, each parent who this effects must send either:

• Their Foreign Birth Certificate
• Current Foreign Passport

This also applies if your child does not have a British birth certificate but has been naturalised.

Translating of supporting documents

If you are sending any foreign documents with your passport application i.e. birth certificates or marriage certificates then you will need to get these translated before you send or take them. These documents are extremely important to your application and must be the originals and not photocopies.

Please be aware that if you need any legal documents translated they must be translated by an official company with legal translators. Asking a friend or colleague to do it for you will not be accepted by the Passport Office.

If you are taking your current or old foreign passport with you as proof of ID or nationality you will not need to worry about this being translated, as this is already a recognisable legal form of identification.

Urgent Passports

The Passport Office does offer urgent and fast-track services however; if you have become a British citizen or been naturalised or you or your parents were not born in the UK you are unable to use these services.

This is due to extensive security checks that need to be undertaken by the Passport Office. So please allow plenty of time before you travel to avoid any delays or disappointments.

If you'd like anymore useful information or tips on how to make your passport application easier please visit the Passport Office Blog

Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm

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