Required Documents for British Passport Application

Created: Oct 16, 2019 | Updated: Oct 9, 2020

There are so many different types of UK passport applications and the variety can seem overwhelming. As part of your application, you may be required to present different types of documents, and some of those documents may require a certified translation if they're not issued in English.

In this article we’re going to discuss:

  • the different types of UK passport applications,
  • the documents you will need to submit as part of your application
  • which birth certificate is needed for a UK passport
  • how to translate non-English documents as part of your passport application

Types of UK passport applications

There’s little sense in us talking through every single type of passport application. Instead, here are some of the most common UK passport applications:

  • New UK passport as a result of newly obtained citizenship;
  • UK passport renewal;
  • UK passport application for a new born child;
  • UK passport application for a child born abroad.


UK passport application document requirements

Now it gets complicated! 

The type of documentation you need for your UK passport application depends entirely on your circumstances. To apply for a UK passport, you must first be a British citizen. Even when all of that paperwork is complete and your citizenship is confirmed, you’ll still need further documentation as part of your passport application.


Born/Adopted in the UK:

If you were born or adopted in the United Kingdom (on or after 01/01/1983), then these are the documents you’ll need in order to apply for a UK passport:

  • Your full UK birth certificate and one of;
    • Your mother or father’s full UK birth certificate;
    • Home Office certificate of registration/naturalisation;
    • Full UK passport belonging to your mother/father when you were born;
    • UK passport number for either parent OR;
    • Evidence of your mother/father’s immigration status in the UK at the time of your birth i.e. your mother/father’s foreign passport valid when you were born.

If you choose to send your father’s documentation, then you must also provide your parents’ marriage certificate.


Born/Adopted outside the UK:

If you were born or adopted outside of the United Kingdom, then the documentation you’ll need to present is slightly different. Your UK passport application will be dependent on your circumstances. That being the case, there’s a huge range of documentation you might require, but these are some of the most important ones for every type of application:

  • Your citizenship certificate (i.e. naturalisation or registration certificate);
  • Your full birth certificate showing your parents’ details;
  • Your parents’ marriage certificate;
  • The passport you used to enter the UK.

If you were born or adopted outside of the UK and you’re applying for a UK passport, there’s a very high chance that your documents will not be written in English. You’ll need to produce a certified translation of those documents. If you don’t, then your application is unlikely to go any further.


Which Birth Certificate is Needed for the UK passport application?

There are two types of birth certificates: a short one, containing only the baby's information, and a longer one, containing the parent's details as well. For the UK passport application, you'll need the full birth certificate, containing the parent's details as well as the baby's. 


Translating documents for a passport application

Let’s make this simple: if a document which forms part of your UK passport application is not issued in English language, it’s going to need a certified translation. Regardless of how basic the document, language or application is, it will need to be perfectly presented in English. This will normally be an attached document which is presented alongside the original (see sample).

The UK Passport Office offer this official advice:

“Where a document written in a foreign language is submitted in support of a passport application it should be submitted with an English translation attached.”

More on the UK Passport Office advice later. 


The usual suspects

First of all, it’s highly likely that you’ll be required to present your full birth certificate. This is one of the most common documents we translate, because it also shows the full details of your parents’ birth. If your father was born in the United Kingdom but you weren’t, then these details become especially important.

Depending on the circumstances of your application, you might also need to translate your parents’ marriage certificate. No matter how new or old the documentation is, we’ll be able to translate it in to English for you.

Thankfully, one important document which you don’t need translated is your official passport. Regardless of the language it’s presented in, the passport you used to enter the UK is accepted as part of your application. We contacted the UK Passport Office for official advice – just to be sure – and they confirmed that your foreign passport is fine just the way it is.


The ones you might not have thought of

As well as translating some of the more obvious documents above, there are a few more that you might not think to translate. Often, these documents aren’t necessarily something you would consider and regularly catch people out. UK citizens must renew their UK passport every 10 years, and an awful lot can change in that time.

Firstly, your passport application may require that you present your marriage certificate. If you’re one of many couples that decided to marry abroad, then your marriage certificate may not be in English. It’s therefore important that you have this translated. If your partner is a UK citizen then it’s crucial that you translate your marriage certificate and present it with the application.

Another thing to consider is that your surname may change, through either divorce or marriage. If since your last passport application your surname has changed, you’ll need to present a marriage certificate or divorce certificate to prove it. And, you’ve guessed it, both of those certificates will need to be in English.


Can I translate my own documents?

Many people applying for UK passports are multilingual. Even if you’re an expert in several different languages (including UK English), you probably still won’t be able to provide your own translation.

This is mostly because the UK Passport Office will only accept certified translations. We’ll look at certified translations more in the next section, but essentially, they’re looking for documents which have been translated by professionals that are recognised or part of an association.  


Certified translation for UK passport application

Many people applying for UK passports will be capable of translating their documentation without trouble. The importance of a certified translation, however, cannot be understated. Once more, this is what the UK Passport Office declares:

“It should be provided by a translator registered with an official organisation such as the Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation & Interpreting. A translator who is employed by a recognised Translation company, the latter being a member of the Association of Translation Companies, is also acceptable.”

The UK passport office also require that your translated documents clearly display a confirmation of the following information:

  • That it’s a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’;
  • The date of the translation;
  • The full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company.


Where to find a certified translator

You have three options:

  1. Find a translator through the Chartered Institute of Linguists website.
  2. Search through translators on the Institute of Translation & Interpreting website.
  3. Use a translation agency that is a member of the Association of Translation Companies.

Translayte is a translation agency that is a member of the Association of Translation Companies and our certified translations are accepted by the UK Passport Office.

We’re dedicated to providing translation services of the highest quality at the best possible cost. Our prices are clear, reasonable and easy to understand, and we can deliver your translations on the same day, or within 24 hours if you require it urgently.

Contact us to get an instant quote today and see how we can help with your translation needs.

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