How do I get a British passport after obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Majority of the new immigrants will choose to apply for naturalisation after obtaining permanent residency status, and they can become British citizens only after the naturalisation application is approved. In this article, we will introduce to you some things you need to pay attention to when applying for a British passport after your naturalisation application is successful.

After your naturalisation application is approved, you need to attend the Citizenship Ceremony before you can apply for your first British passport. Only applicants who are over 18 years old or 18 during the application process need to participate in the naturalisation ceremony. Minor applicants will be directly awarded a Certificate of Registration, so they do not need to participate in the naturalisation ceremony. We will introduce you the process and precautions of naturalisation application in detail later.

Many people have a misunderstanding about holding a British passport, believing that it is a document that grants the naturalisation applicant the right to British nationality, but in fact the right to British nationality is granted by the Certificate of Naturalisation issued at the Naturalisation ceremony. A British passport is mainly an important identity document presented when British citizens travel in and out of the country or need to prove their identity.

All citizens who have obtained British nationality can apply for a British passport. The validity period of an adult passport is 10 years, and the validity period of a child passport is 5 years. It should be noted that if the passport applicant is 16 years old or will be 16 years old within 3 weeks, then the applicant should apply for an adult passport instead of a child passport.

Passport applicants can complete the application online or fill out the form and post the application. The online application fee is £75.50, and the postal application fee is £85. Currently, the processing time for online adult passport application is 7 weeks, and for child passport application is 6 weeks. Whilst the processing time for postal applications will be longer. Therefore, we will mainly explain to you the process of an online application.

The documents required to apply for the first British passport online are:

  • Passport-sized electronic photo;
  • Naturalisation certificate or registration certificate;
  • Foreign passport used before becoming a British citizen.

At the same time, the passport applicant also needs to provide a countersignatory. The staff of the HM Passport Office will contact the countersignatory via email to confirm the identity of the passport applicant. Countersignatory must meet the following requirements:

  • At least 18 years old;
  • Currently living in the UK;
  • Hold a British passport;
  • Know the passport applicant for at least 2 years (if the passport applicant is a minor child, the witness needs to know the guardian of the minor child for at least 2 years);
  • Work in or be retired from a “recognised profession” such as teacher, doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professional workers. (The list of acceptable professions can be found on the official website of the UK government).

After completing the online application, the passport applicant needs to post the documents specified in the confirmation email to the designated address. After the application is approved, the new passport and the previously posted documents will be sent back separately.

In addition to the application process that must be completed above, applicants for the first British passport may also be required to attend an identity confirmation interview. Generally speaking, only minor applicants who have reached the age of 16 or will be 16 years old during the passport application period will be notified of the interview. Adult applicants over 18 years of age and child passport applicants will not be required to attend.

The purpose of the interview is to help the HM Passport Office confirm the identity of the applicant and confirm that the passport application is actually initiated by the applicant, this reduces the number of cases of identity fraud.

The UK passport interview will last approximately 20-30 minutes. During this period, the applicant may be asked the following questions:

  • Applicant’s full name and spelling of the name
  • The full names of the applicant’s parents and their current occupation
  • Applicant’s current residence address in the UK and the previous address outside the UK
  • The name and address of the applicant’s school and the name of their teacher
  • The full name of the applicant’s closest friend in the UK

All in all, the interview questions will relate to the applicant. Answering interview questions confidently will help the interviewer make judgments and issue the passport.

If you have any further questions about the passport application process and passport interview or need help, please contact our immigration team.