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Renewing British Passport from Australia

Renewing British Passport from Australia

Old May 4th 2020, 1:23 am
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Question Renewing British Passport from Australia

I am currently in Australia and need to renew my British passport. I know I can easily do this online but my problem is the counter-signer. Apparently the person needs to have known you for two years and be a British/Irish passport holder. As I'm travelling around Australia, I don't know anyone who fulfils this criteria. Has anybody had experience with this kind of thing? Thanks!
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Old May 4th 2020, 2:07 am
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by Fenella View Post
I am currently in Australia and need to renew my British passport. I know I can easily do this online but my problem is the counter-signer. Apparently the person needs to have known you for two years and be a British/Irish passport holder. As I'm travelling around Australia, I don't know anyone who fulfils this criteria. Has anybody had experience with this kind of thing? Thanks!
Are you sure you need it countersigning? The UK Passport site says you only need it doing if:

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
https://www.gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications

It also says there that they only need be a Commonwealth passport holder if you're outside the UK.

We haven't bothered with renewing passports since we got citizenship, but we did have to do a renewal for the boys before then, and would have needed countersigning because their appearance had changed, but I can't remember what we did! I doubt we'd been in the country (and certainly not the state) for 2 years at that point, so we must have managed somehow, but I'm not really being much help!

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Old May 4th 2020, 4:54 am
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Thanks Dreamy! I had read the bit about the paper forms but then read something else that contradicted it. I have written to the UKGov site - Will wait to hear what they come up with. Thanks again for your reply.
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Old May 4th 2020, 8:23 am
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

If your passport hasn’t yet expired then - unless your appearance has radically changed - you don’t need a countersignatory.

Apply here: https://www.gov.uk/overseas-passports
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Old May 5th 2020, 11:28 pm
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by Dreamy View Post
Are you sure you need it countersigning? The UK Passport site says you only need it doing if:



https://www.gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications

It also says there that they only need be a Commonwealth passport holder if you're outside the UK.

We haven't bothered with renewing passports since we got citizenship, but we did have to do a renewal for the boys before then, and would have needed countersigning because their appearance had changed, but I can't remember what we did! I doubt we'd been in the country (and certainly not the state) for 2 years at that point, so we must have managed somehow, but I'm not really being much help!


We weren't planning to, but then we discovered there are so many more countries that grant visas at zero cost to UK passport holders. Just a single visit to Vietnam a year or two ago saved us half the price of the UK passport.

Also, with a British accent I feel more authentic travelling on a UK passport. While I value my Aussie citizenship, the passport is for all intents and purposes just a re-entry visa.

Funny, travelling in and out of Malaysia a few years ago (before we renewed our British passports) my sons got pulled over by perplexed-looking security staff and questioned. It turns out they were thinking: "You were born in London, are travelling on Australian passports and you look neither British or Australian". My wife and I had to rescue them.

Last edited by paulry; May 5th 2020 at 11:31 pm.
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Old May 6th 2020, 5:39 am
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

UK Gov - HMPO confirmed what you've all said:

"If you make a renewal application online, you would not be asked for a countersignature. A countersignature would be asked for online if you were making an application to replace a lost or stolen passport, or you were making a first time application.
When your old passport is received at the office, the new photo and old photo would be compared. If there is a significant change in appearance, you would be emailed a form and asked to provide a countersignature.
For an overseas application, the countersignature can hold a UK, Irish, EU, US or Commonwealth passport and they do not have to live in the UK."

Many thanks for all your answers and stay safe!


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Old May 6th 2020, 11:02 am
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

If you were to need a countersignatory and don't know someone suitable, simply take every bit of ID you have along to any JP and they can do it. Not necessary for you but worth knowing for anyone else in the same sort of boat.
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Old May 6th 2020, 2:29 pm
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by moneypenny20 View Post
If you were to need a countersignatory and don't know someone suitable, simply take every bit of ID you have along to any JP and they can do it. Not necessary for you but worth knowing for anyone else in the same sort of boat.
That’s fine for certified copies but the JP would need to have known you personally for at least two years to countersign a British passport application.
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Old May 8th 2020, 12:34 am
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
That’s fine for certified copies but the JP would need to have known you personally for at least two years to countersign a British passport application.
The guy did my daughter's and it was accepted.
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Old May 8th 2020, 12:45 am
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by moneypenny20 View Post
The guy did my daughter's and it was accepted.
I’m sure it was. It doesn’t mean it should’ve been.
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Old May 8th 2020, 12:50 pm
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
I’m sure it was. It doesn’t mean it should’ve been.
Fair enough. I honestly thought it was legit, I'm convinced I read somewhere official that it was an ok way to do it in Aus because it could be a struggle to find the right person. No idea where I think I read it so I won't bother trying to find it.
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Old May 8th 2020, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by moneypenny20 View Post
Fair enough. I honestly thought it was legit, I'm convinced I read somewhere official that it was an ok way to do it in Aus because it could be a struggle to find the right person. No idea where I think I read it so I won't bother trying to find it.
Indeed, maybe best to let sleeping dogs lie
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Old May 8th 2020, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Letting yoiur passport expire is a problem when it comes to renewal. I had that issue when I allowed my minor daughters' passports to expire. Passport Office in Belfast gave us a tough time when we applied for new ones.
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Old May 8th 2020, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by scot47 View Post
Letting yoiur passport expire is a problem when it comes to renewal. I had that issue when I allowed my minor daughters' passports to expire. Passport Office in Belfast gave us a tough time when we applied for new ones.
It wasn't a problem for us to renew through the Auspost "checker" service after several months expiry . But I think they've ceased that service now.
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Old May 9th 2020, 12:24 am
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Default Re: Renewing British Passport from Australia

Originally Posted by scot47 View Post
Letting yoiur passport expire is a problem when it comes to renewal. I had that issue when I allowed my minor daughters' passports to expire. Passport Office in Belfast gave us a tough time when we applied for new ones.
Depends on the age of the applicant and how much time has passed since its expiry.
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