THERE is so much planning and preparation when it comes to travelling to another country with your little tot.
The most important thing that is needed is that of a valid passport, and this can be rather confusing for first-time parents. Here's everything you need to know.
Who can apply for a child's passport?
Someone with parental responsibility for the child must apply for the passport.
You need to give both parents' details when you apply. If you cannot provide the other parent's details, you need to say why.
You will need to prove that your child is entitled to British nationality.
You can apply for a passport both online or by post.
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If you want to apply by post, you should be able to collect a paper form from the Post Office, or you can phone the Passport Adviceline to request a form sent to you by post.
What is the application process?
A child's standard 34-page passport costs £53.50 if you order via the government website or £16 if you apply by paper form.
To apply online, you'll need:
- A digital photo of your child
- Supporting documents, including birth certificate
- A credit or debit card
Alternatively, you can apply by post by either:
- Getting a paper form from a Post Office that offers the passport check and send service
- Contacting the Passport Advice line to get a form posted to you
Applying by post costs an extra £9.50 and it may take longer to receive the passport.
After you've submitted the application, you'll need to ask someone to confirm your child's identity.
You can only confirm someone's identity if you:
- Are 18 or over
- Live in the UK
- Have a current UK passport
- Have known the parent of the child whose passport is being processed for at least two years
You must work in a 'recognised profession', for example an accountant, nurse or social worker.
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Be aware, there are also certain requirements for the photos you use for the passport.
When you apply for your child's passport, you must provide two passport-sized identical photographs.
The photos must be 45mm high and 35mm wide.
For an online application, you will need to provide digital photos which must be clear and unedited.
For an application made for a baby, it is important to keep the following points in mind concerning the photographs:
- They must be facing upwards and towards the camera
- They must have their eyes open and visible. (Babies who are under 1 do not need to have their eyes open)
- Must not have anything covering their face
You may support your child's head with your hands but they must not be visible.
Signing the application
Someone with parental responsibility must sign the application form.
If your child is aged 12 to 15, they need to sign the form as well.
From birth, your child will need a passport any time you leave the UK. A child’s passport is valid for five years.
How long will it take to arrive?
Applying for your child's first passport can take up to 10 weeks to be certified.
Be sure to allow ample processing times, especially during particularly busy periods like public holidays.
If you require your child's passport in under 10 weeks, you can opt for a fast-track service.
However, the turnaround time can differ depending on what country you are applying from.
Your new passport will be sent to you by a courier or through Royal Mail.
How long will the passport last?
A child's passport is valid for five years from the date it is issued – not 10 years as it is for adults.
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When a child reaches 16 they should apply for a full adult passport.
UK passports have the issue and expiry dates printed on the main page of the passport.
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