Check your Passport and Travel Documents before you travel

Check how long it will take to get a passport before you apply.

If you need a passport urgently, you can find out more about the Online Premium or 1 week Fast Track services.

Do not book travel until you have a valid passport – your new passport will not have the same number as your old one.

What is a passport?
A passport is a travel document that serves as the ultimate form of proof for your citizenship. Every country issues passports to citizens of that country.  British Citizen passports are issued by the United Kingdom Identity & Passport Service (IPS).  UK passports come in two sizes to accommodate frequent travellers, jumbo and regular.  Jumbo passports contain 48 pages while regular passports contain 32 pages.

Do I need a passport?
British citizens require passports to exit and enter the UK and all other countries in the world. It is your responsibility to carry the correct identification while travelling abroad.

Do British Subjects have the same rights of entry to other countries as a British Citizen passport?
No. British Subject passport holders have different entry requirements than British Citizen passport holders. If you hold one of these passports and require information on passports and visas, email info@uk.visacentral.comfor further information.

How does VisaCentral obtain a passport for me?
VisaCentral provides passport services for UK citizens by submitting proper documentation on your behalf to the UK Identity & Passport Service (IPS). This eliminates the need for you to visit, communicate, and correspond directly with the IPS.  Please go to Passports to see the full range of passport services VisaCentral provides.  For citizens of any other country residing in the UK, please consult your home country’s local consular office for passport details.

How long is my passport valid?
If your passport was issued when you were 16 years of age or older, your passport is valid for 10 years. If your passport was issued when you were 15 years of age or younger, your passport is valid for 5 years.

When applying for a passport renewal, will my old passport be returned to me?
Yes, your old passport will be returned unless it is deemed to be damaged by the UK Identity & Passport Service (IPS). The passport will clearly indicate that it is invalid and it is important that you advise whether any valid visas remain in the passport before applying for it to be renewed.

How long must my passport be valid for international travel?
Most countries require that a passport be valid for at least six months beyond the completion of a trip. If your passport expires sooner than that, you must apply to renew your passport.  Go to Visas to determine how long a passport must be valid for each specific country of travel. In the event that your passport is set to expire go to Renew Passport and get started.

Can VisaCentral obtain additional passport pages for my passport?
No. You must apply for another passport. Go to Renew Passport for details.

How many blank passport pages do I need to meet entrance requirements and what is considered a ‘blank’ passport page?
Passports must have enough blank pages to accommodate entry and exit immigration stamps for each country of travel. At least one visa page in your passport is required for each visa. Most travel visas that are stamped into your passport require an entire blank visa page. A ‘blank’ visa page must be clean, clear, and not show ink or stains from any other pages in the passport.

I am recently married or divorced and have changed my name. Can VisaCentral help me change my name on my passport?
With proper documentation, you are able to change the name listed in your passport.  VisaCentral can assist you in this process by submitting the necessary documents on your behalf.  Visit Passport Name Change for details.

Can VisaCentral replace my lost or stolen passport?
With correct documentation, VisaCentral can replace your lost or stolen passport in as little as a day. Visit Lost or Stolen Passports for details.

Do my children require passports?
Yes. Each individual citizen, including infants, must possess his or her own passport. You are not allowed to represent other members of the family inside your passport. VisaCentral can assist you if you need to get a new child passport or if you need to renew a child’s passport.  Visit Child Passport to learn about passport requirements for children.

How old must my children be to apply for a Child Passport?
Your children must be 15 years old or younger to apply for a Child Passport.  Visit Child Passport to learn about passport requirements for children under the age of 15.

How long will it take VisaCentral to process my passport?
For most passport services VisaCentral has one processing time: Fast Track – 6 working days. Visit Passports to determine the passport processing time for the type of passport you are looking for.

What mailing method does VisaCentral recommend for submitting my completed VisaCentral Application Pack?
VisaCentral recommends using Royal Mail Special Delivery or other traceable methods of delivery when submitting your completed VisaCentral Application Pack.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry into the USA or transit through the USA on an ESTA. If you’re planning to enter or transit through the USA using an ETD, you must apply for a visa from the nearest US embassy or consulate before you travel, which may take a number of days, or hold a valid lawful permanent resident card (often referred to as a ‘green card’), which you must have with you on arrival. UK ETDs issued in the USA are valid for exit from the USA.

Visa Requirements

You may need a visa to come to the UK to study, work, visit or join family.

There are different visas depending on:

  • where you come from
  • why you want to come to the UK
  • how long you want to stay for
  • your personal circumstances and skills

Before you apply, you must check if you need a visa and what type you need. Depending on your nationality, you might not need a visa to visit or transit through the UK.

Your application must be approved before you travel.

You do not need to apply for a visa if you’re an Irish citizen.

If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

If you or your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme instead of applying for a visa.

The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:

  • you have a later deadline – for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 – for example, you had an illness, or were the victim of domestic abuse

Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you want to visit the UK

Apply for a Standard Visitor visa to visit the UK for up to 6 months. For example:

  • for a holiday or to see family and friends
  • for a business trip or meeting
  • to do a short course of study

You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK to get married or register a civil partnership.

If you have a visitor visa you cannot take a job in the UK.

If you’re travelling through the UK

You might need a visa if you’re travelling through the UK on your way to another country, for example if you have a layover between flights.

Apply for a visa to travel through the UK.

If you want to study in the UK

Your course length, type and place of study affect which visa to apply for.

A Standard Visitor visa lets you do a short course of study that lasts no longer than 6 months.

A Short-term study visa lets you come to the UK to study an English language course that is over 6 months and up to 11 months.

A Student visa is usually for a longer course. You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a confirmed place. You may be able to do some work on this visa.

A Child Student visa is for 4 to 17 year olds who want to study at an independent school. If you’re 16 or over, you can do some work on this visa.

If you want to work in the UK

You can work in the UK on a short or long-term basis with a work visa. There are many types of work visa.

The visa you need depends upon:

  • your skills and qualifications
  • if you have a job offer and sponsorship
  • if you want to bring your family with you
  • what you’ll be doing – for example sporting, charitable or religious work

You can set up a business with a Start-up visa or an Innovator visa.

If you want to join family in the UK

If you’re a spouse, partner or family member of someone who has British citizenship or settlement in the UK, you can apply for a family visa to join them. They may need to show that they can support you financially.

You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after a set amount of time living in the UK.

If your family member is in the UK on a visa

You may be able to apply for a visa to join a family member who’s in the UK on a visa. They must be either:

  • your spouse or partner
  • your parent if you’re 18 or under

Check what visa you’ll need to join them.

If your family member is from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

You can apply for a free family permit if you have a close family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020. A family permit lets you live, work and study in the UK for up to 6 months.

Close family members include your spouse or civil partner, child, grandchild, parent or grandparent.

You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme after your family permit expires.

Family reunion visas for refugees

If you were separated from your partner or child when you were forced to leave your country, they can apply to join you in the UK.

Your family members can apply if you have been given asylum or 5 years’ humanitarian protection, and not have British citizenship.

Other ways to get permission to live in the UK

Commonwealth citizens

You can apply for an Ancestry visa to work in the UK if you have a British grandparent and meet other eligibility criteria.

You may have right of abode to live in the UK.

If you’re a Commonwealth citizen and cannot prove your right to be in the UK, read about the Windrush scheme.

Returning residents

If you had indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and left the UK for more than 2 years you’ll need to apply for a Returning Resident visa to come back.

Other visas

There may be another visa that’s right for you based on your circumstances. Check if you need a visaand what other visas you’re eligible for.