View Full Version : UK passport for a newborn

3rd Jul 2012, 13:58
A little bit over three weeks ago, p-k-b junior the second came into this world and one of our first actions when he came home from the hospital was to start the process of getting him a passport - don't get me started on the rules that require a ten day old baby to have his own passport, which is a whole other issue.

We got the application sent away to the embassy in Paris on 20th June and I chased up to see that everything has been received by phoning the UK Passport Agency Careline - don't get me started on having to give Careline a credit card number and then being charged 79 Euro cents per minute on top of the cost of the call when in the UK you can simply email them, that's a whole other subject.

These guys told me that everything had been received but that it's currently taking 6 to 7 weeks to process first time passport applications for children if sent from abroad :eek: When p-k-b junior the first had his passport application processed it took 2 and a half weeks from door to door - why has this effectively tripled since then????

Trouble is, we plan to travel to the UK via Eurotunnel on 20th July for about 5 weeks. Our local Consul says they can't issue an emergency travel document under any circumstances for a newborn (he's been good in chasing all this up with Paris) and I've fired off an e-mail to the UK Passport Agency, which is part of the Border Agency, to see if they can speed things along (seems unlikely, as the Careline chap was clearly reading from some sort of script).

Does anyone else have any suggestions as to what to do? What happens if we pitch up in Calais with our passports (both his mother and I are UK citizens) and his international birth certificate? Would he be entitled to travel into the UK as he is a British citizen even if he has not received his passport? We can, of course, prove that we've applied for a passport for him.

It's a pain when just about anyone can enter Britain but we're struggling to get in with a British Citizen!!!

Any thoughts on the subject - or recent experience of Passport Agency processing times - gratefully recieved.

Espada III
3rd Jul 2012, 14:05
Firstly don't panic! The timescale given is usually a worst case, so I would anticipate receipt before you depart.

Secondly don't panic! Some Israeli friends living in the UK for an 18 month work placement traveled on Eurostar to Paris with three daughters. As they got to Paris they realised that the girls passports had expired. Cue panic! No need. Don't know how, but they were let back into the UK without a quibble (presumably by showing the parents passports and visa and the girls' passports and visas) and encouraged to renew the passports - which they did.

The moral is not to panic. Border staff seem to have some common sense if you really have to travel without junior's passport.

3rd Jul 2012, 14:11
Congratulations on your new arrival.

I very much doubt (although will be corrected) that there is any right to travel without the correct documents.

Is the delay in processing caused just by the fact that the application has been submitted from abroad? I'm wondering whether you could effectively cancel that application then attend in person with your original documents etc. If you're in France, it would just mean a day trip to London? Though possibly the extra time is deemed necessary for verifying documents issued in another country - in which case, it probably wouldn't help.

Suggest you get back in touch (preferably with a real person) with the UK guys, explain the situation and ask what are the options for expediting the application. If you're reasonable and pleasant, you may finally get hold of someone who wants to help you.

Edited to add: Espada's point re worst-case scenario estimates may well be correct. However, I really wouldn't advise knowingly travelling without the correct documents - I suspect the border agency's attitude when faced with someone who has made a genuine mistake (and has a passport, even though it had expired) would be different to someone who knew their child was not permitted to travel, but turned up anyway in the hope that they would turn a blind eye.

3rd Jul 2012, 14:38
Thanks for the replies. It's an interesting one - in that the first thing is that he has never had a passport before, so he has no identity document existing other than his birth certificate.

I'm pretty certain that the Careline guy was simply reading from a script when talking about the processing time - and I've done evrything possible to expedite the process, including using their new electronic format application form which they claim speeds everything up.

I'm sure he doesn't have a right to travel, though the Consul has advised me that the UK Border Agency cannot deny a British Citizen entry to the UK (will they accept he's a British citizen with only his Birth Certificate, I wonder?)

We can't take the risk of just pitching up in Calais because it involves a 10 hour drive from home - with what will then be a 6 week old baby and a two year old in tow. Driving up and then back down would be horrendous! One problem is that try as I might, I can't find a way to contact the Border Agency in Calais to ask them or prepare them. In my aviation career I've known of plenty of passengers travelling to the UK without a passport in hand but having contacted the Border Agency first - but it seems impossible to get hold of a real, living person any more!

3rd Jul 2012, 14:58
PKB, if the wee one was born outside the UK, then he has British Nationality By Descent if either parent is British Otherwise than By Descent (i.e. born in the UK). British Nationality Act 1981 applies. The exception is if parent(s) are overseas on UK Crown Service or other designated appointment (various statutory instruments), whereby junior would get the "otherwise" category.

I don't know whether adding junior to a parent's passport would speed things up, sorry. Time's probably getting short, but if you PM me I could give you a couple of 'phone numbers for lawyers (in Scotland) who specialise in immigration matters.

3rd Jul 2012, 15:04
Hi Magnus - apparently it is no longer possible to add a child to a parent passport for UK citizens - all must have their own passport (hence the mess!). The local population simply roll their eyes when they hear of such bloody-mindedness!

3rd Jul 2012, 15:23
You could always get the little miracle chipped and then bring him in as a pet. I gather the process is very quick and simple.

3rd Jul 2012, 19:00
Stick him in the boot?

3rd Jul 2012, 19:07
go ahead anyway, if stopped eat your remaining passports and claim no knowledge of English apart from the words 'asylum', 'benefits' and 'council house'.


3rd Jul 2012, 19:35
Funnily enough, stuckgear, the thought had occurred to me.

3rd Jul 2012, 19:41
British incoming passport control at the Chunnel is done in France so if you haven't received the passport by July 20th, the worst that could happen is that you'll have to turn back into civilisation. Sometime between July 20th and five weeks thereafter, the new passport should arrive anyway.

Gertrude the Wombat
3rd Jul 2012, 20:25
You could try emailing your MP (assuming you are registered to vote somewhere in the UK). Depending on how efficient their office is you might get some action in time - they spend a fair amount of their time on passport issues and should have the right contacts.

3rd Jul 2012, 21:01
Funnily enough, stuckgear, the thought had occurred to me.


you could alwys try the retort 'is it 'cos i is a panda ?'

by the way, for a panda you've certainly done some reproducing !!!

3rd Jul 2012, 21:31
Is baby not entitled to French ID documents ?

Know others from foreign parts who have had child born in UK and as a means of visiting abroad with newbie they have taken out a UK passport for littlie until home nations passport is all sorted.

3rd Jul 2012, 22:33
Is baby not entitled to French ID documents ?
Not necessarily that easy:-
French daughter-in-law (and British son) had difficulty registering grandson as French as the authorities disagreed over the choice of forenames.

DX Wombat
4th Jul 2012, 00:24
PKB, ask the Consul how you can get him a British Birth Certificate which is likely to be more readily accepted by the Border Agency and perhaps a letter of confirmation from the Consul that he is indeed your baby.

Milo Minderbinder
4th Jul 2012, 01:48
how about an emergency travel document or emergency passport?
These can be issued by the Consul

Emergency travel (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/passports1/passports-a-to-z/e-topics/emergency-travel)

4th Jul 2012, 05:44
You can easily get a passport for a newborn if you have valid reason and completed the requirements.

4th Jul 2012, 10:59
though the Consul has advised me that the UK Border Agency cannot deny a British Citizen entry to the UK

I'm British - last time I did the tunnel France to UK I was required to show I had a return ticket. Next trip could be interesting - that is only a single ticket.

We can't take the risk of just pitching up in Calais because it involves a 10 hour drive from home - with what will then be a 6 week old baby and a two year old in tow.

They do check that the number of passengers matches the number of passports handed over, and that children are either yours or have an official document from the parents authorizing the travel with you. They can be strict because of the number children who have been snatched in the past.

4th Jul 2012, 11:49
Thanks all for the replies... soem interesting points raised.

Milo - the Consul has enquired at the embassy about the possibility of issuing an Emergency Travel Document. The embassy have replied that there is only one circumstance that this is possible for a baby that has never had a passport before and that is if the child was born prematurely while the mother was out of the UK. They have flat refused to assist in issuing one for our case.

sylviaB - As I said int he original post, we have applied for the passport. The issue is not if we can get one but it's when - it's taking 6 to 7 weeks at the moment, which is just crazy.

Regarding French ID documents, no he is not entitled. Both I and his mother are British Citizens, which means he is also obliged to be British until the age of 18. At that age he is legally entitled to request french citizenship but not before.

stuckgear :ok:

My next plan is to try to contact Eurotunnel and ask them if they have a contact that I can speak to at the UK Border Agency in Calais. Let's open up negotiations!

4th Jul 2012, 11:54
The whole issuing of British passports if you live abroad is now a nightmare.
I go through a passport about every 2 years with all the stamps and visa's particularly for Saudi. Used to go to the British Embassy in Bahrain submit forms and cash at 8am and get a phone call at noon telling me the new one was ready. :ok:
Now all new passport applications have to be couriered to Dusseldorf and takes between 4 to 6 weeks, meanwhile you have no passport and therefore cannot travel. The French issue passports from Paris but with them you go to the embassy submit the forms they look at your passport and give it back to you so you can still travel then 4 days later they have your new one so you go to the embassy and swap the old one for the new one. Why can't the British do that?
And why when we have raging unemployment in UK do they contract out the issuing of British passports to a German company?
Anyway the upshot is that since neither myself or my other British employees can afford to be stuck in Bahrain for 4 to 6 weeks, we operate a Gulf wide software maintenance company, My company has to pay for us to fly to London and do the one day service at Victoria. So now a new British passport costs my company about 800 and 3 days of downtime. :mad::mad::mad:

4th Jul 2012, 12:15
All, sirwa69, 'for your convenience' of course!

4th Jul 2012, 14:43

I've had 2 passports for years, to allow for visa issues etc, simply because I asked for the second. And they have different issue dates.
I wonder if that facility has now been withdrawn, like all the others, to "improve the service"?

4th Jul 2012, 15:50
I've had 2 passports for years, to allow for visa issues etc, simply because I asked for the second. And they have different issue dates.
I wonder if that facility has now been withdrawn, like all the others, to "improve the service"?

same here.

5th Jul 2012, 07:35
No, you can still have 2 passports but you must have a letter from your employer stating why you need the second one - you can't simply ask for one for fun. But I'd have thought that the passport fees alone would prevent people from making applications for a second one unless they really thought it necessary.

In the two and a half yers since we applied for the passport for our firstborn, the fees have increased by 50% and the processing time has - if what they tell us is true - almost tripled.

Pay more for a worse service.


Load Toad
5th Jul 2012, 08:12
When we lived in Singers & had the two kidlets we had to get passports for them very soon after they were born. No problem at all apart from trying to get a baby to keep still enough to take a face photo!

Getting a UK passport now in HK is pretty crap really. The service used to be polite, efficient, fast & if you urgently needed a new passport for business travel they would help out. Nowadays the passports are made in Philippines or something like that & the service is neither so fast or cheap.

5th Jul 2012, 11:10
You can have two passports on request. It is a necessary requirement for those whose travels take them to Israel and who also have to travel within the Gulf.
It is not a requirement to have an authorisation letter from an employer.
The UK Passport renewal is now much complicated by having regional processing centres as mentioned by Sirwa69. If living in France a UK passport is renewed via Dusseldorf, if living in Asia it is renewed via Hong Kong. I just renewed mine via a courier company to Hong Kong. New passport printed in the UK and received within two weeks direct from the UK. Original passport returned from Hong Kong two days later.
If renewing in the UK the cost is 77.50 and if renewing from overseas the cost is 128 plus courier charges. A bit of a rip off but the service was quick.

Good luck.

5th Jul 2012, 11:37
You could always take the approach that I did when a nursery didn't want to let me take Mechta junior from them (Mum had dropped him there and gone to work, having told them I would pick him up, but the message got lost).

I just said, 'Fine, You keep him then, I'm off.' :E Suddenly realising he was now their problem, they relented very rapidly.

5th Jul 2012, 14:19
So I'm now exploring multiple avenues (phnar-phnar).

I have spoken to Careline again (72p per minute charged to a credit card plus the cost of the call :rolleyes: ) - in fact to the very same chap that I spoke to on Monday. He has now added an 'expedite' note to our case - not sure what that means! And frankly, he's not sure either. This is after he told me there was no way to fast track an application when I spoke to him on Monday. All a bit confusing.

In parallel, I am trying to explore what the possibility of me flying to the UK and rushing a passport application through the UK system is likely to be.

The Home Office website is utterly confusing - it says that UK citizens visiting the UK are permitted to apply whilst they are in the UK provided that the passport goes to a UK address. You are permitted to apply for a first child passport in person at a local passport office and you can have the 5 working day service (though not the 24 hour service). You can apply for a passport for a child of UK citizens even if he is not born in the UK and they can use his International birth certificate.

So it seems that one can fly to the UK, apply for the child's passport even if he wasn't born in the UK and you are not UK resident, provided that the parents are UK Citizens.

Now it gets as clear as mud - the IPS say that the child has to be in the UK at the time (though this isn't written anywhere). So why would you need to apply for a first passport for a child born abroad to UK parents if you could already bring the child into the UK - for which he needs (you guessed it) a passport! How can he get into the country to be present for the application process in the first place???

So I'm still none the wiser - can I fly to the UK, submit his application, wait til it's ready and then fly back home with it... or not????


5th Jul 2012, 14:34
panda wrote:

I have spoken to Careline again (72p per minute charged to a credit card plus the cost of the call :rolleyes: ) - in fact to the very same chap that I spoke to on Monday. He has now added an 'expedite' note to our case - not sure what that means! And frankly, he's not sure either. This is after he told me there was no way to fast track an application when I spoke to him on Monday. All a bit confusing.

It probably took him/her that long to figure out how to read the remainder of the script he/she was reading from. Did the Careline rep. speak native English?!!!!!

5th Jul 2012, 15:07
Native Scottish, actually. And I've just spoken to the main passport agency - who have a distinctly Northern Irish lilt - and they say the number of applications has gone bananas and that one passport processing centre has actually stopped taking any new applications until it's calmed down.

Everyone heading out of town for the Olympics, then?

5th Jul 2012, 15:56
He has now added an 'expedite' note to our case - not sure what that means! And frankly, he's not sure either

what that means is that, if noticed or if someone can be bothered, the application will be pulled out of the 'in tray' of the person who is on six-nine months (or more) mat leave, and put into the in tray of the person who is off on a week of team-building exercises before heading off on two weeks annual holiday.

12th Jul 2012, 11:02
Got it! The passport arrived in my sticky mitts this morning - but only after I put the boot in somewhat at the Embassy and they agreed to have a go at the IPS. It was cleared as a matter of urgency last Friday, printed on Sunday (really? Well, so they said) and sent out by DHL Tuesday lunchtime.

But you wouldn't believe the amount of phoning and emailing that I had to do to get them to pull their fingers out - to Careline, the Embassy (including to the Ambassador directly), the IPS and the local Consul.

Simply amazing what you have to do to get an identity document for a UK citizen! All praise to the Embassy, though - they were the ones that swung it in the end.


DX Wombat
12th Jul 2012, 12:29
That's wonderful news P-K-B. :D :D :D Have a great holiday. :ok:

7th Aug 2012, 10:43
Panda - what happened in the end? Was very interested to read your post as one month after you we find ourselves in the same situation. Passport application for the baby was posted on 20 July, received in Paris on 31 July, they have withdrawn the money from our account the same day (but apparently that means nothing), but following a call to the call centre today, we were told nothing more than that we should wait 4-6 weeks. We'd like to travel on 18 Aug, but that looks a long shot now. We'd be flying Amsterdam-Bristol. BUT if your Eurotunnel experience worked out then we could change our travel plans as nothing is booked. We just have a Dutch birth certificate for the baby.

Wondering if you made it back to the UK successfully in the end... any recommendations?

Yamagata ken
7th Aug 2012, 16:41
I'm coming late to this. Many congratulations on your success. I had to renew my UK passport earlier this year. Complex because although I have held a UK passport since about 1965, I was born in Australia, and live in Japan. The paperwork was a nightmare, I had to read it through about 10 times to be able to follow the path. I also needed to supply my father's birth certificate (b1907) and my parents' marriage certificate (m1936). At this time my mother was dying and my existing passport was coming up to the 6 month validity that would preclude me from re-entering Japan. It took 6 weeks, and the passport arrived for me to be there for my mother's death, but was a lot of grief.

7th Aug 2012, 16:52
The French issue passports from Paris

........... not as far as I know ... they have to be SENT to Paris, who then pass them on to the UK where they are issued and sent back to you in France from the UK ....

PS Congratulations to P-K-B Junior II and his family.

8th Aug 2012, 09:35
I think the Passport Office are being sensible in dealing carefully with your little one's passport application.
He could be a budding terrorist with a noxious compound in his nappy. <evil>

21st Nov 2012, 08:34
Just wanting to see if there was anyone had any further information/experience on this.

We've a similar problem whereby my wife is due to give birth (in Amsterdam) in the next week or so and we had planned to return to the UK for Christmas as we both have elderly parents who we'd really like to spend Christmas with (as not sure they'll be another).

But if we send off the babys application to Paris its likely we'll not get it back in time. Does anyone know if its possible to get permission to travel letter from the Embassy for the new born? Or any other possible way ?

22nd Nov 2012, 12:00
The answer is absolutely, flat, no. Your only hope is to press the Embassy, although you aren't applying at peak time like we were. The Passport mess occurred because our demand went in at what is the peak demand time BOTH for expats AND domestically in the UK, which coincided with what seemed like half of the country trying to get out of the UK before the Olympics began. It's almost worth paying 72p per minute to call Careline (their number is on the FCO website) to find out if they have any idea what the current passport processing time is at the moment. You can't get a letter giving permission; you can't get an Emergency Travel Document; you can't get ANYTHING that will allow travel except a passport.

Welcome to the caring, sharing United Kingdom.

Good luck and fingers crossed that all goes well with the birth :ok:

30th Nov 2012, 07:36
Hi, does anyone have any contacts on how to move a uk passport for a newborn quickly. Any contact info I can use to try to speed it up would be appreciated, looking to take the little home for first Christmas in Scotland. Called the call center who were as much use as a chocolate teapot.

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