Who can sign a passport photo for me, my children or a baby is an essential question to help avoid delays obtaining a new or renewed document when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased and we can travel again.
Can a friend countersign a passport photo, or maybe a manager at work? What about countersigning a passport photo for a child, can a teacher or teaching assistant sign for them?
We look at the 45 listed people and professions that can sign a photo declaration for your passport application, or that of a child or baby.
With around five million Brits estimated to have passports which are valid for less than a year, changes coming after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December will mean thousands will to need to be renewed for travel in Europe and beyond from 1 January 2021.
These are the people and professions who can legally countersign passport photos and forms to ensure you're not left with delays as you attempt to beat the rush to renew and get the new post-Brexit blue version of the essential travel document.
Here is who can sign your passport photos (Credit Alan Barth / Flickr)
When do I need to get a passport photo signed for me, my children or baby?
You - or a child you're applying for - will need to get two photos and the application form signed if any of the following apply:
First adult passport
First child passport
Replacement for a lost, stolen or damaged passport
Renewal of a passport for a child aged 11 or under
Renewal of a passport if your appearance has changed and you can't be recognised from your existing passport
Who can sign a passport photo and form for me, my children or baby?
Before anything else, the person must comply with the following:
1) Have known the person applying (or the adult who signed the form if the passport is for a child under
16) for at least 2 years
2) Be able to identify the person applying, eg they're a friend, neighbour or colleague (not just someone who knows them professionally)
3) Be 'a person of good standing in their community' or work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession. See below.
If applying in the UK the countersignatory must:
1) Live in the UK
2) Have a current British or Irish passport
If applying outside the UK the countersignatory must:
Hold a valid British, Irish or other EU, US or Commonwealth passport.
If the persons holds a US, Commonwealth, or non-British or non-Irish EU passport, your application must include a colour photocopy of the page with their photograph on it.
Tip: Choosing someone with a British or Irish passport will ensure your application is processed faster.
Recognised professions that can countersign passport photos for me, my children or baby
Choose a person - either working or retired - from one of these professions to sign your passport photos.
- Airline pilot
- Articled clerk of a limited company
- Assurance agent of recognised company
- Bank/building society official
- Chairman/director of limited company
- Commissioner for oaths
- Councillor, eg local or county
- Civil servant (permanent)
- Director/manager/personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
- Engineer - with professional qualifications Financial services intermediary, eg a stockbroker or insurance broker
- Fire service official
- Funeral director
- Insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
- Justice of the Peace
- Legal secretary - fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs
- Licensee of public house
- Local government officer Manager/personnel officer of a limited company
- Member, associate or fellow of a professional body
- Member of Parliament
- Merchant Navy officer
- Minister of a recognised religion - including Christian Science
- Nurse - RGN or RMN
- Officer of the armed services
- Paralegal - certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals
- Person with honours, eg an OBE or MBE
- Photographer - professional
- Police officer
- Post Office official
- President/secretary of a recognised organisation
- Salvation Army officer
- Social worker
- Teacher, lecturer
- Trade union officer
- Travel agent - qualified
- Valuer or auctioneer - fellows and associate members of the incorporated society
- Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers
(They must also satisfy the criteria listed above)
Who can't sign my passport photo?
Apart from people not working in a 'recognised profession' or not being 'a person of good standing in their community', official guidelines also bar the following from signing:
Your countersignatory can't...
Work for HM Passport Office
Be a doctor, unless they state that they know you well (eg good friend) and that they recognise you easily from your photo.
Can a relative or partner sign my passport photo?
The person signing your passport photos cannot be:
Related by birth or marriage
Be in a relationship with or live at the same address as the person applying.
What does the countersignatory need to write on the photo?
He or she must write the following on the back of one of the two photographs you send.
'I certify that this is a true likeness of [title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport].' They must then sign and date the photo underneath the statement.
What else do I need to know about passport photo signing?
The person signing your form and photo could be contacted by HM Passport Office for additional information. The process could be delayed if they're not available - on holiday for example.
You will have to sign your passport if issued after 2017
HM Passport Office has started the introduction of UK passports that no longer include the holder's signature in digital format. The holder will instead be expected to sign the document after it has been issued to them - using a black ballpoint pen.
This is designed to speed up HM Passport Office's application system, by removing the need for signed paper forms and printed photographs. The system will be similar to systems used by the USA, France, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada.
The new passports started being phased in from January 2017, meaning the digital format passport will be phased out during 2027.
A passport is not valid for travel without the inclusion of a signature.
Holder will need to sign above the pre-printed line above the page which shows their personal details such as name and date of birth.
Current passports will remain valid until their expiry date.
How much will the passport cost?
Find out a list of passport costs and fees here.