Passport Articles | General Passports

Apply Online, Upload Your Photo

The passport service has changed a lot in recent months with the introduction of more online services as well as the ability to now spread the cost of your passports and pay monthly. The most recent changes to how you send your passport photos is probably the most significant improvement to the online service since it was introduced. You can now save time and money by uploading a digital photo to your passport application, applying online is quick, easy and convenient and thousands of applicants are now choosing the cheaper online application opposed to the more expensive paper applications.

We have a full and complete guide on online applications and how to ensure you upload your digital photos correctly and that they will be accepted from HM Passport Office. If you are new to online passports this can be a daunting process, but in this guide, we will go through everything you need to know and how to complete your application, photo requirements, how to upload your photo, digital photo codes, as well as urgent services and appointments.

How to complete your online application

Before you start your online application, you will need to ensure you have all of the relevant information to hand along with and supporting documents you may need to send, please be aware that only original documents will be accepted by HM Passport Office. If you send copies or fail to send the correct documents this may cause severe delays and additional costs.

Before you start

What type of passport do I need?

Before you start your online application you will need to know what type of passport you are applying for, make sure you choose the right option for you and your circumstances.

• First time adult passport - standard 32 page
• Renew adult passport - jumbo 48 page
• First time child passport
• Renew child passport
• Lost or stolen passport

If your passport has been lost or stolen you will first need to cancel your existing passport before starting your online application.

What documents do I need?

Another important aspect of your passport application is to know what supporting documents you will need and ensuring you have the original copies to send to HM Passport Office, it is important to remember that photocopies or pictures of documents will not be accepted and your passport may take longer and cost you more money.

What supporting documents you need will depend on the type of passport you are applying for, here is a list of documents that may be required, once you have completed your online application you will be told what documentation will be required for the completion of your passport application.

• Photo code (if you have purchased passport photos from a booth or shop)
• Previous cancelled British passports
• Any other uncancelled passports, British or otherwise
• Full birth or adoption certificate
• Certificate of naturalisation
• Parents documents - including birth and/or marriage certificates
• Grandparents documents - including birth and/or marriage certificates
• Name change documents - including marriage or civil partnership certificates and deed polls

What else will I need to apply for my passport online?

Once you have all of the above you will also require:

• Printer
• Ink
• Paper
• Envelope
• Correct postage fee
• Debit or Credit card

You will need the use of a printer, ink and paper to print out your declaration once you have completed your application, this is vital to complete your passport application, without this your application will not be processed. In addition to this if you fail to send your declaration and/or supporting documents in time your application may be cancelled and you may have to pay for a new application.

When paying for you application you must ensure you have a valid Debit or Credit card to make payment online in order for the application process to be started.

Please note:

You are not able to pay by cash, cheque, BACS, PayPal or by any other means other than Debit or Credit card.

My online passport application

Once you have everything you need to start your online application the online forms are very simple and easy to use. Using a combination or drop down boxes and prompts this system ensure you complete all of the relevant information before progressing onto the next part of the application.

When completing your online form you must take extra care with the spellings of all names and places as errors here could lead to a longer waiting time in the application process. You are given several opportunities to check all of your information before submitting your application.

How to use the new online photo service

One of the newest features to the online passport service is the use of digital passport photos, when you apply online you will need one of the following to complete your passport application. As of April 2019 thousands of customers are now opting to use these new services saving time and money as well as making online applications much quicker and simpler.

• A digital passport photo - which you can upload to your application
• A passport photo code - example (case sensitive)
• 2x traditional passport photos - you can send these with your declaration

How to upload my digital passport photo

If you have opted to use the online photo service you will need to upload a suitable passport photo to your application. You must ensure your photo meets all of the requirements otherwise your photo will be rejected. Your photo will first pass through the computer software to complete checks and then once this has passed it will then be passed to a human being to complete the checks.

Digital passport photo guidelines

• Be taken from at least distance of 1.5 metres away
• Be a close-up of your full head and upper shoulders
• Contain no other objects or people
• Be in clear contrast to the background
• Have you facing forward and looking straight at the camera
• Have you with a neutral expression (ie, no smiling) and your mouth closed
• Have your eyes open, visible and free from reflection or glare from glasses
• Have no hair in front of your eyes or eyebrows
• Not have your head covered (unless it's for religious or medical reasons)
• Not have anything cover your face
• Not have any textured backgrounds
• Unaltered by computer software
• At least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall
• At least 50KB and no more than 10MB

Digital passport photos for babies and children

• Children must be on their own in the picture
• Babies must not be holding toys or using dummies
• Children under 6 do not have to be looking directly at the camera or have a plain expression
• Children under 1 do not have to have their eyes open
• You can support their head with your hand, but your hand must not be visible in the photo
• Children under one should lie on a plain light-coloured sheet, take the photo from above

Printed photos

As well as adhering to all of the above rules your printed passport photos must also be:

• Measure 45 millimetres (mm) high by 35mm wide (the standard size used in photo booths in the UK)
• Not be a cut down version of a larger picture
• Printed to a professional standard
• Clear and in focus
• In colour on plain white photographic paper with no border
• Without any creases or tears
• Unmarked on both sides (unless a photo needs to be countersigned)

Photo codes

If you have purchased printed passport photos most new style photo booths and photo shops now also provide you with a unique photo code. This new photo code is a digital copy of your printed passport photos, when it comes to the photo section on your online application rather than uploading your photos or sending off the printed copies you can now simply type in this unique photo code and your photo will automatically upload.

This code is a combination of case sensitive letters and numbers, you must ensure that you copy the code exactly as it appears otherwise your photo will not upload correctly.


As this photo code service is so new not all photo booths and photo shop have the necessary software and equipment to provide you with your photo code, if you would like to use this service please check with your local passport photo provider before purchasing photos.

Can I come back to my application later?


We understand that as quick and convenient as our service is sometimes you may have to stop and start your application. In order to save the progress you have already made we allow you to save your application and log in at a later time or date to complete your application.

Once you have entered your mobile phone number and email address you are then able to save and resume your application. When you save your application you will receive a text and email confirming the code you will need to resume your application, keep this safe because without it you will be unable to continue with your application.

What are the advantages of the new online service?

As with many forms and applications they take time to complete and many customers have found the traditional paper forms timely, confusing and they are often rejected due to too many corrections or spelling mistakes.

Since the introduction of the online application system thousands more customers are finding the process much quicker, more efficient and the amount or errors are greatly reduced. Most people have smart phones as well as laptops, tablets and computers to hand almost all of the time, this means that most people can complete their application anywhere and at any time, fitting it in around work, children and other commitments.

You can also save money by using the online photo service, some photo booths and photo shops can charge up to £10.00 for a set of passport photos, and if you are applying for a family of four this could cost you up to £40.00. Uploading your own digital photos is quick, easy and free, making this option the go to choice for most new customers. The convenience of this new service has dramatically changed the passport process for the better and we want to ensure that you have all of the information you need before starting your application.

What if I need to use the urgent services?

We recommend not booking any travel arrangements until you receive your passport, but if you are travelling in 4 weeks or less we advise that you use one of the urgent services to ensure you receive your passport. You can still use the digital photo services with the urgent services.

1-week Fast-Track service

You can use the urgent passport service if you want to apply for one of the following:

• Renew a standard adult 32-page passport
• Renew an adult 48-page passport
• Name change in a standard adult 32-page or 48-page passport - with marriage or civil partnership certificate
• Change a standard adult 32-page or 48-page passport
• Replace a lost, stolen or damaged adult passport
• First child passport
• Renew or change a child passport
• Replace a lost, stolen or damaged child passport
• Renewal for a British national born on or before 2 September 1929

You cannot use this service if you want to apply for:

• First time adult passport

1-day Premium service

You can use the urgent passport service if you want to apply for one of the following:

• Renew a standard adult 32-page passport
• Renew an adult 48-page passport
• Name change in a standard adult 32-page or 48-page passport - with marriage or civil partnership certificate
• Renewal for a British national born on or before 2 September 1929

You cannot use this service if you want to apply for:

• First time adult passport
• First child passport
• Change a standard adult 32-page or 48-page passport
• Replace a lost, stolen or damaged adult passport
• Renew or change a child passport
• Replace a lost, stolen or damaged child passport

Can I spread the cost of my passport application?

Yes, our pay monthly option is available for many different types of people on varying incomes, including if you are a student you're retired, employed, self-employed or even unemployed.
Payl8r, the company that provides the finance for the pay monthly option helps customers that traditionally fail credit checks or have thin credit files. They review customers' affordability and "credit future", not just their credit history, provided that you are a UK citizen and have a UK bank account with a credit or debit card and online banking.

Payl8r is a finance company that provides credit to its customers to purchase goods and services online and pay back through monthly instalments. They provide finance options for hundreds of shops, online stores and service providers and can now help you afford to apply or renew your passport. For most customers the decision is automated and takes 30 seconds after you confirm your application. For a small majority of customers, your application may require additional information and therefor it can take longer. You will be notified by email.

You can choose flexible interest-free payments and spread the cost of your passport application over 2, 4, 6 or 9 months. This will dramatically reduce the initial pay out for your passport application. Paying monthly also significantly helps those who are applying for multiple passports such as families or groups travelling together, as a family all applying for first time child passports or renewing their existing passports could incur costs of £300-£500 in addition to holiday and/or travel costs often at the last minute. Research has found that many consumers prefer to pay monthly when having to spend a larger amount. It will also help people and families on lower incomes perhaps if you are a student, are retired or even on benefits.

Applying for you and your family's passports no longer has to be expensive and time consuming, with our online services you can make it a convenient and affordable process.

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