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British Passport Photograph Countersignature

British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Old Oct 5th 2014, 12:13 am
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Question British Passport Photograph Countersignature

I'm in the process of applying for British citizenship for my adopted child, which will hopefully be approved in the next few months. After that the final step will be to obtain a British passport for him, but it would seem that the countersignature requirements have been made even more stringent.

From https://www.gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications it seems that I would now require a copy of the countersignatory's passport to enclose with the application. In this age of identity theft - coupled with banking and company hacking left and right - I think it's going to be a tough sell to ask someone to hand me a copy of their US passport's bio page.

I don't know any British citizens out here in the middle of nowhere Texas, so it would have to be an American that could be the countersignatory, as the instructions seem to allow for. Even so, now I have to get a copy of their passport, I am racking my brain to think of whom I could ask to do this, and am coming up empty.

Is there some way around this requirement? I didn't have anywhere near this trouble when I obtained a US passport for him, and I really don't know why the British government insists on making such a simple thing so difficult.
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

You might be surprised and find that people are okay with you having a photocopy since you have all the information showing them who/what/why it is requested.

If people are reluctant do you perhaps have a friend in the UK who would countersign for you? From a quick read of that link it looks like they wouldn't need a photocopy if the countersigner was British, just their passport number.

I know it's a pain but you could mail the form and photo to them in the UK and then have them send it back to you.

I'm starting the British Citizenship process for 3 adopted children so haven't got as far as looking into the British passports for them - it's all so easy and inexpensive
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 4:55 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Originally Posted by NiHao View Post
If people are reluctant do you perhaps have a friend in the UK who would countersign for you? From a quick read of that link it looks like they wouldn't need a photocopy if the countersigner was British, just their passport number.
... and what, precisely, would that friend in the UK be countersigning?

A statement to the effect that "I certify that someone claiming to be a friend of mind now living in the US sent me this picture which they say is of their adopted child who I have never seen before" ...
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Health care professional? pediatrician?
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 5:45 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
... and what, precisely, would that friend in the UK be countersigning?

A statement to the effect that "I certify that someone claiming to be a friend of mind now living in the US sent me this picture which they say is of their adopted child who I have never seen before" ...
LOL! Well I was assuming that the form wouldn't arrive at the friend's out of the great blue yonder without a phone call from the OP first to actually make the request. (Although indeed, even then, there is always the "very likely" possibility that the phone call was from an impersonator). Must be exciting to be your friend if you would just be sending the form without prior communication.

Equally I didn't think it beyond the realms of possibility that a UK friend might have actually met the child but you obviously know the OP better than I!

Still it is a very valid point that you make, there is so much of this kind of underhand stuff going on, not a day goes by that I don't find a request in my mail box from someone pretending to be a friend and asking me to countersign a passport photo of someone they are "claiming" to be their adopted child. We have to come down hard on this crime, lives are being ruined, innocents are going to jail. Thank you so much for pointing out the very real dangers inherent in my foolish suggestion. I stand ashamed and chastened
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 6:27 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

What about an official with whom you've dealt at the adoption agency?
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 6:30 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Could you ask one of the referees who signed the photo page on the MN1 British Citizenship form?
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Thanks for the replies.

Since this was a private stepparent adoption then there is no adoption agency that I can engage.

The referees from the MN1 form was also something I considered, but one of them is a neighbour whom I don't think has ever set foot out of the state, and so I doubt holds a passport (I will ask though); the other was a teacher at my son's old school, and I'm not really comfortable asking for a copy of their passport together with yet another favour for a child they are no longer teaching.

Asking someone from the UK might be an option, although I have lost touch with most people I know since I've been here for some time now. When it comes to identifying minors then I believe the person countersigning the photograph must know the adult making the application, not the child for whom the passport would be issued.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 12:08 am
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Hypnosis,

Maybe just ask the teacher, you can preface it with "I feel awful asking you for assistance with another piece of paperwork and totally understand if you would rather not but could you possibly . . . (insert request). . . . . . . . it would be so appreciated we don't really have anyone else to ask that meets the criteria"

Honestly, I think most people really are only happy to help whenever they can and something like this takes so little of their time that it's such an easy think to do. If you preface the request with something along the lines of above you show that you aren't taking it for granted that they will do it and really appreciate if they can but understand if they would rather not. Worse thing that can happen is they say no and it's back to the drawing board.

Good luck!
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 12:11 am
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

p.s
I would be very interested in hearing how long it takes for your son's British citizenship to come. I'm waiting on some paperwork but then will be sending in applications for our children and I'm wondering how long it will take. I know the form says they don't usually take more than 6 months but I'm hoping it might be quicker.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 12:21 am
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Originally Posted by Hypnosis View Post
When it comes to identifying minors then I believe the person countersigning the photograph must know the adult making the application, not the child for whom the passport would be issued.
According to the link that you provided above:
Photo - what the countersignatory must do

The countersignatory should write the following on the back of 1 photo:

‘I certify that this is a true likeness of [title and full name]’

They must add their signature and the date below this statement.

Child passport photos

The countersignatory must:
  • know the person with parental responsibility who’s signing the application form
  • be able to identify the child
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 3:34 am
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Asking the teacher that was a referee for the MN1 might be the least worst way to go about it. I do have a couple of people in the UK I could maybe ask as a backup, and they have seen plenty of photographs of my son previously (and us all together) to where they could identify him through that (it does not state the countersignatory must have met them in person).

When it comes to the citizenship application, I filed it with the Home Office in Liverpool near the end of July and it was received at the beginning of August. Unfortunately the ~$1,165 fee (!) was blocked by my bank as it tripped their fraud detection (I even gave them advance notice), and they sent me a nastygram saying I needed to make the payment within 3 weeks or the application would be cancelled. I wound up wiring my mother the money in the UK and she wrote a personal cheque and sent that to them, so that is hopefully one less hassle.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Originally Posted by Hypnosis View Post
Asking the teacher that was a referee for the MN1 might be the least worst way to go about it. I do have a couple of people in the UK I could maybe ask as a backup, and they have seen plenty of photographs of my son previously (and us all together) to where they could identify him through that (it does not state the countersignatory must have met them in person).

When it comes to the citizenship application, I filed it with the Home Office in Liverpool near the end of July and it was received at the beginning of August. Unfortunately the ~$1,165 fee (!) was blocked by my bank as it tripped their fraud detection (I even gave them advance notice), and they sent me a nastygram saying I needed to make the payment within 3 weeks or the application would be cancelled. I wound up wiring my mother the money in the UK and she wrote a personal cheque and sent that to them, so that is hopefully one less hassle.
So you filed for citizenship, so why not wait to apply for the passport? As a USC the child is going to need a US passport to travel anyway, and it is perfectly possible for a British citizen to visit the UK on US passport. You can apply for a British passport at any time in the future, or leave it up to your children to apply for themselves when they're an adult.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
The countersignatory must:
know the person with parental responsibility who’s signing the application form
be able to identify the child
A quick look at the photo they are signing and they'll be able to do that surely?! I've signed off for work colleagues kids in the past.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: British Passport Photograph Countersignature

Originally Posted by scott1sh View Post
A quick look at the photo they are signing and they'll be able to do that surely?! I've signed off for work colleagues kids in the past.
I have no doubt that you have. Whether you should have done is a different question.
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