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Renewing UK Passport in the United States

If you are a British national and need to renew your passport while abroad, you must file an overseas British passport application. The process begins online through a government website. After answering a few questions, you are provided with the forms you must complete and return to Her Majesty's Passport Office in the UK. The process is the same is you are applying for a UK passport from overseas.

One significant change in recent years is that British passport applications can no longer be submitted to the embassy or consulate in the United States - they have to be handled in Britain. That said, depending upon your circumstances, you may still be required to visit one to attend an interview.

Since all applications must be processed in the UK, turnaround times are quite lengthy and can range from 4 to 12 weeks (or more if there are errors or omissions in your application or supporting documents). There is no option to pay for an expedited processing time.

That said There are expediters who can usually get your passport for you a little faster than if you apply yourself. Not only do they understand the system and how to obtain passports more quickly, but they also provide personal assistance to applicants. This is especially important if anything goes wrong during the process. The British Embassy does not provide online tracking for passport applications, nor do they send email notifications when applications are received.

British citizens who need to travel abroad on short notice and do not have a valid passport can request an Emergency Travel Document (ETD). The ETD is only valid for a specific journey. It has a limit of 5 destinations and has your destinations printed on it. Once used, it is invalidated. The Emergency Travel Document Application Form (PDF) must be submitted in person by the applicant.

Requirement for Renewing a UK Passport (Applicants age 16 and older.)

1. Most Recent Passport

You need to submit your current valid or recently expired passport. It is not possible to renew your passport without sending it in with the application. The passport cannot be damaged.

2. Completed UK Passport Application

The form must be complotted online. Don't forget to include the address to which you want the passport sent and sign within the borders of the signature box. Select the number of pages you want, whether 32 or 48.

Online UK Passport Application

3. Passport Photos

You are required to submit two identical passport photos that meet IPS standards. Photographs that do not meet the standards are one of the main reasons for delays in passport application processing. Choose a location with experience in taking passport photos. Be aware that you are cannot smile nor wear glasses when taking the pictures.

4. Other Required Supporting Documents

If you possess an valid passport other than your British passport, you must submit a full color copy along with your application.

There are many other factors that may require you provide additional supporting documents with your overseas UK passport application. Be sure to check this document as well as the British government's passport website for the latest requirements.

If you would like to enlist the assistance of a registered expediting service to guide you through the process, we recommend It's Easy Passport and Visa Services.

Besides the requirements listed above, you also need to send the following when applying for a UK passport through an expediter:

  • An authorization letter - Expediters usually have an authorization letter you can download and sign.
  • Evidence of travel - Evidence of travel can be either a copy of your itinerary or letter for your company indicating dates and times of travel when traveling for business purposes.

Click for overseas British passport applications in USA.

About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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