Life, Moving to the UK

How to renew your Australian passport in London

I can’t believe it was ten years ago that I applied for my passport ahead of my first ever trip to Europe. When I was filling in that form I never would have imagined that I’d actually be living in London by the time it expired.

Even though I was back in Australia recently, I was only there for a week, so I didn’t feel comfortable submitting an application for my passport renewal only a few days before I was due to fly back to London. My only other option was to submit the application from London. I was concerned that having my visa attached to one of the pages in my passport might complicate the process but I needn’t have worried. It ended up being a simple and straightforward process.

Step 1: Get new passport photos

Since UK passport photo sizing is different to Australia’s, for the sake of simplicity I had my new passport photos taken at the post office when I was visiting Sydney. You can still get them done in the UK though. I’ve previously had my visa photos taken at Snappy Snaps and they offer passport photos for any country.

Step 2: Complete the renewal application form online

To renew your passport you must have and be able to show a passport that:

  • was valid for at least two years when issued, and
  • was issued in your current name, date of birth and sex
  • is current or expired less than three years ago

If you meet this criteria then you simply need to fill out the renewal form online. You’ll need to provide your current passport details, personal information and emergency contact details. Once the form is complete you’ll then be able to print it out, sign it, and attach your passport photo to it.

Step 3: Book appointment

The Passport Office in London operates an appointment system, so you will need to book an appointment to lodge your passport renewal application. The only way to book an appointment is by phoning the Passport Office on 020 7887 5816 between 9am-12pm on weekdays. Appointments can be made up to 4 weeks in advance. The Passport Office opening hours are 9am-4pm Monday-Friday (except UK and Australian public holidays), so your appointment has to fall within those hours. When you book the appointment they will give you a confirmation number which you will need to bring with you on the day.

Step 4: Lodge application in person

The final step is to attend your appointment at the Passport Office at Australia House. You’ll have to go through a quick security screening and then enter your confirmation number into a machine which prints you off a numbered ticket. There’s a small waiting area with chairs where you can sit until your number is called.

You need to take your printed renewal form with two passport photos, as well as your previous passport(s). They won’t take your current passport, but they will cancel it by cutting off the long edge of the cover.

The cost of an ordinary adult passport is £146, plus an overseas processing charge of £59 and a £6.50 special delivery charge (£211.50 total). The standard processing time is up to three weeks, however there is an option to pay a fee for priority processing if you need your passport sooner. I opted for the standard processing but my new passport was delivered about a week earlier than I expected.

Do you need to transfer your visa to your new passport?

You can transfer the visa to your new passport but you don’t have to. You can save yourself the cost and just travel with both your old and new passports. Since getting my new passport I’ve re-entered the UK three times and have not had any issues showing both passports at the border.

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