Applying For Your Baby’s First Passport – How To Get Your Passport Application Right First Time!

As a holiday lover, we booked our 2nd baby’s first holiday before he was even born! When he was about a month old I started to apply for his first passport. My first application was sent back as I hadn’t sent in the correct version of the birth certificate, but luckily my 2nd application was accepted. This is my experience of applying for my baby’s first passport.

Getting Started

About 12 weeks before we were due to go on holiday with our newborn baby, I began to start thinking about applying for his first passport. My first stop was the official Identity & Passport Service website where I read up on the application process. There are lots of ‘unofficial’ websites which appear on Google advertising their ‘services’ to help you apply for a passport for a baby , but most of these charge a fee in addition to the fee charged by the Identity & Passport Service.

I filled in the online form which asks for basic information about yourself, your partner and your baby. The form is then printed out by the Identity and Passport Service and then sent back to you to counter sign, and supply the relevant ID and photos. It took just over a week for my online form to be returned to me.

This was fairly pain free and there is the opportunity to amend the form if you realise you’ve made mistakes after you’ve filled in the online application.


In May 2016, it cost £46 to get a child’s first passport or £55.75 if you use the Check and Send service. I paid an additional £3 for my ID to be returned via secure post.

How to take a suitable passport photo of your baby

Ok, this is where it starts to get tricky. How on earth do you get a photo of a newborn baby looking at the camera without their arms, a toy or someone else’s arms being in the photo?

The Identity & Passport Service’s requirements for passport photos are here. You can go to a specialist passport photo provider such as Boots, Jessops etc and ask them to take your baby’s passport photo but we decided to do it ourselves and print the photo out as it was cheaper. I placed my baby on the floor with an off white sheet underneath him, and held his hands out of shot whilst my husband took the photo.

Here’s how to get your baby’s passport photo right

  • Photo has to be taken against an off white or cream background (sheet). Be careful to remove creases.
  • The head and both ears have to be in shot
  • There can’t be any arms around the head area
  • Take the photo from about 1.5 m away and include your baby from about their tummy upwards
  • There must be a space above the baby’s head
  • Important – if your baby is less than 1 year old they do not need to have their eyes open

  • We did this and printed them off via Frame Lizard. It only cost £1.99 for 6 uncut photos.

    Supplying the correct identification

    After the passport photos had been sent back, my husband asked one of his colleagues to sign it. Note that the person counter signing the photos needs to supply their passport number too.

    Then I collated all the information, and sent what I thought was the correct part of the birth certificate off to the Identity & Passport service. I got a letter about a week later asking me to send a ‘full’ birth certificate off so they could process my application. After contacting the passport office it transpired that they want the certified copy of the birth certificate with mine and my husband’s name and occupation on it rather than the copy with just our baby’s details on it. I didn’t feel this was made particularly clear in the documentation sent by the Identity & Passport service or the subsequent letter sent to me.

    Once I sent the correct version of the birth certificate off, my baby’s first passport and accompanying identification was returned. All done!

    Have you got any tips about applying for your baby’s first passport?


    1. Thanks for the clarification, even with all the guidance notes I was still baffled! Thank you!

    2. Thanks i to sent the wrong certificate even when they ask for the copy of entry it wasn’t very clear at all 😀

    3. Thanks for that. You were my second stop in trying to find out which of the two they wanted. They need to make this a bit clearer.

    4. Thanks. I completely agree, the information is unclear. Is it the certificate of birth or the certified copy of an entry (with more details)??? I will send the latter.

    5. I found the whole process very unclear to be honest – thankfully you don’t have to do it very often!

    6. The latter worked! I filled in all the required stuff on line, printed off what I needed, got things signed etc, sent the certificate with the parents information on and got the passport in a week! Excellent service, thank you passport agency!

    7. Fantastic news! You can book a holiday now:)

    8. Hi I am in process of sending off for my childs first passport I have sent his full birth certificate with the application but I have only sent my half birth certificate off as this is all I have for me I do have a passport but it isn’t in date I have provided the number, do you think they will send it back

    9. Went through this process today, was very angry because they don’t clarify or are they clear on what birth certificate you send, I went up to the office 1 hour train journey to be told I didn’t have the correct birth certificate, rather peeved especially as the women in the office was so rude! Thankfully it’ll be sorted tomorrow I hope and we can all go on holiday.

    10. Did you need to send your passport? Or is a photocopy fine?

    11. We’ve had the same issue today with the wrong birth certificate, how long did it take to get the passport after sending back the correct certificate? We are getting very close to our holiday now!

    12. It didn’t take long actually – maybe about a week. Hope you get yours back soon – it’s not an easy process is it?

    13. Hi, do you need to send the parents’ ORIGINAL passport to apply for the newborn’s passport? I emailed the immigration office but all they gave me is a bunch of websites to refer to. Quite worried as Royal Mail has lost my mail many times.

    14. Hi Jes. You will need to send the parent’s original passports to apply for the passport. I sent mine recorded delivery. Hope that helps. Jo

    15. Just applying myself. Completely agree that it’s unclear which birth certificate is accepted. Doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere.

    16. It’s a bit of a nightmare isn’t it?! Good Luck!

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