Countersigning passport applications and photos

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When you must get a signature and who can sign

Some paper passport applications and photos must be signed by someone else (the ‘countersignatory’) to prove the identity of the person applying.

You must get your paper form and one of your 2 print photos signed if you’re applying for a:

  • 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 cannot be recognised from your existing passport

Who can sign your form and photo

Your countersignatory must:

  • have known you (or the adult who signed the form if the passport is for a child under 16) for at least 2 years
  • be able to identify you, for example they’re a friend, neighbour or colleague (not just someone who knows you professionally)
  • be ‘a person of good standing in their community’ or work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession

Who cannot be your countersignatory

You cannot ask someone to countersign your passport if you’re:

  • related to them by birth or marriage
  • in a relationship with or live at the same address as them

If you’re applying in the UK

Your countersignatory must:

  • live in the UK
  • have a current British or Irish passport

If you’re applying outside the UK

Your countersignatory must have a current British, Irish or other EU, US or Commonwealth passport.

If they have a US, Commonwealth, or non-British or non-Irish EU passport, you must include with your application a colour photocopy of the page with their photograph on it.

Your application will be processed faster if they have a British or Irish passport.

What the countersignatory must do with your form

After you’ve filled in the form, your countersignatory must check the details are correct and sign it.

By signing it they are confirming that:

  • they’ve known you for more than 2 years
  • you’re who you claim to be
  • as far as they know, all the information you’ve put on the form is true

Your countersignatory must put their passport number on the form.

What your countersignatory must write on your photo

Your countersignatory should write the following on the back of one photo:

‘I certify that this is a true likeness of [title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport].’

They must add their signature and the date under the statement.

You do not have to sign or date the photos yourself.

What the countersignatory can expect

Your countersignatory may be contacted by HM Passport Office for more information. Your application may be delayed if they’re not available, for example they’re on holiday.