Passports for children
Obtaining passports for children: A quick guide
It can be an exciting time for parents when they are able to tell their children they are going on holiday abroad. The child can experience a different country, culture and atmosphere and take a break from their normal routine.
However, before the child can go anywhere he or she will need to have a valid passport of their own. Long gone are the days when children could travel under their parents’ passports. For some parents, obtaining a passport for their child is a straightforward process.
When applying for a child’s first UK passport the application form requires the details of each parent who has parental responsibility (PR) for the child, including their passport numbers. This is so that HM Passport Office can carry out checks to make sure the child has a right to be given a UK passport due to their nationality, and this is usually proven by the fact that their parents have already been granted a UK passport.
Whilst usually both parents’ details appear on the application form, only one parent who has PR for the child is required to sign the declaration on the application form. The parent signing the declaration must also have the application form countersigned by someone who they have personally known for two years or more. The counter signatory is also required to confirm that the photograph of the child is a true likeness of the child.
In some cases separated parents will already be in agreement for the child to be given a passport. For others, one parent can take it upon themselves to apply for the passport and whilst this can raise tensions between the parents, HM Passport Office should still be able to process the application and issue a passport.
The greatest difficulty can come if one parent is looking to use the application to change the child’s name or has already changed the child’s name using a Deed Poll or Change of Name Deed. In these circumstances HM Passport Office will only process the application if they have written evidence from everyone who has PR for the child that they each consent to the child’s name being changed.
More information can be found by visiting HM Passport Office online.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich Solicitors.