Tips for Postal Applications

If you have decided that you want to apply for UK passport by post rather than completing the forms online, there are a few things to bear in mind when doing so. Thousands of passport applications are delayed or rejected every year, due to errors, mistakes and unsuitable supporting documents.

There are many reasons for delays in the application process but the most common are due to human error. There is an array of possible mistakes that could potentially delay your Passport application by up to 6-7 weeks. Please see guidance below for how to avoid delays and make the process as quick and easy as possible for you.


Check And Send Service.

The Post-Office offers customers a 'Check and Send' service. They ensure you that their service is secure, it saves time and gives you peace of mind. Although it is important to remember that the Post-Office and their staff are not fully trained by the Passport Office.

The Check and Send service is one of many extra services supplied to customers, the staff are not always aware of all the do's and don't and mistakes are still commonly found even when people have used this service. The information they hold on passport applications are essentially the same guide booklet that you receive with your application.

We only advise using the Post Office service if you either have difficulty filling in forms due to disability or eye-sight problems. Human error on their part is still very much a factor, even when you are paying for their service. If you do decide to use the check and send service please note - if there are any mistakes that can not be rectified and a new application needs to be sent, you will NOT be issued a refund from the Post-Office.


Urgent and Fast-Track

Although the Post-Office aim to get your passport back to you within 3 weeks, it is important to remember that the Post Office Check and Send service IS NOT an urgent passport service, nor is it in anyway a fast-track service, this is merely the standard service sent via first class post, please be aware that the 3-4 week rule still applies to this kind of application and only starts once the Passport Office has received your application, which doesn't include weekend or bank holidays.

If you do require an urgent UK passport or a Fast-Track service you will need to either call the passport advice line on 0300 222 0000 9am-5pm or Book An Appointment Online 24/7. Please note however that urgent fast-track services are only available for the following application types:

• Adult Passport Renewals (16+)
• Adult/Child Lost Passports
• Adult/Child Damaged Passports
• Child Passport Renewals
• Child First Time Passports


Minor Mistakes - Major Delays

When filling out an application form it can sometimes be difficult to get everything right including, information requires, what's relevant? & what's not? Please see further guidance notes below to help you filling in postal applications:

• Always use a BLACK ink - You application could be returned if it is in any other colour, this also applies to the person countersigning any photographs for you.

• When signing any part of your application it must be INSIDE the box - if any part of the signature is outside of the box or touching the line of the box it will also be rejected.

• If you are English, Scottish, Welsh from Northern Ireland or any of the surrounding islands that make up the British Isles you must put BRITISH in as your nationality - They are looking for your nationality not the country you were born in.

• If your parents were born on or after 1 January 1983 you must provide grandparents details on a separate piece of paper, this needs to include, full names, dates of birth, town/country of birth and relevant marriage dates.

• If you are asked to provide passport numbers from any previous passports held by the applicant, this is referring ONLY to UK Passport numbers - Please do not include any foreign or overseas passport numbers as they are not necessary.

• If you make a small spelling mistake you must clearly block out the character boxes with BLACK ink - DO NOT use correction fluid - Please note you are only able to make a maximum of THREE character mistakes on a single form, any more than this and you will need to start a new form.

• Original supporting documents only - No photocopies or substitutes of any kind will be accepted, this includes Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, and confirmation of name changes via Deed Poll.

• Photos must adhere to all regulations and must have been taken in the last month- this is very important, any photo that does not meet the criteria will result in your application being rejected.


Please remember that all services and procedures surrounding your UK Passport application are subject to change and delays, whether that's due to human error, or postal delays. But we want to make this process as easy and hassle free as possible for our customers. We also advise not to book any travel arrangement until you have received your passport; doing so could lead to inconvenience and disappointment.



Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 9am-5:30pm


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Passport Office Blog

Our blog is full of useful tips and interesting facts about the world of Passports and Travel.

Passports Office provides relevant information about new passports, renewing an existing passport, and the contact details of key UK passport offices.

This website is not affiliated with Her Majesty's Passport Office from which similar information is available from gov.uk. We are an independent service provider offering services & advice. We charge a service fee of £15.00, £19.00 or £29.00 per applicant, for further support in addition to HM Passport Office fees for your passport.

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