The UK passport is a key biometric travel document issued to British nationals. British passport holders have the right to live, work, and study in any country within the United Kingdom. The passport provides visa-free access to 172 countries, which includes European Union countries and most nations in Asia, the Americas, and Africa.

This guide provides in-depth information on owning a British passport and the advantages that come with it.

Key Facts about the UK Passport

Global ranking

The British passport ranks 7th out of 197 on our Global Passport Index, assessing global mobility (i.e., international travel benefits afforded to the holder), investment and business opportunities, and a country’s quality of life.

Passport types

The His Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) is the designated authority that issues passports and provides passport services to UK citizens. There are multiple categories within British nationality law; for that reason, Great Britain issues several types of UK passports with different nationality codes. The kind of passport a UK national receives depends on the classification of their citizenship.

Category

Description

Nationality Code

British citizen

A British citizen who holders British citizenship from a country within the British Isles

GBR

British Overseas Territories citizen

A British citizen from one of the United Kingdom's 14 overseas territories

GBD

British Overseas citizen

A British national who was a British citizen of a former colony on 31 December 1982 and did not become a British citizen or British Overseas Territory citizen on 1 January 1983

GBO

British subject

A British national of a Commonwealth country who did not become a citizen of the United Kingdom, a Commonwealth country, Pakistan, or Ireland An individual who was an Irish citizen on 31 December 1948 and made a claim to remain a British subject

GBS

British protected person

An individual who, on 1 January 1983, was a citizen of Brunei or would otherwise have been born stateless in the UK A British overseas territory citizen who, when they were born, one of their parents was a British protected person

GBP

British national (overseas)

An individual who was a British Overseas Territories citizen by connection with Hong Kong and registered as a British national (overseas) before 1 July 1997 or was stateless on 30 June 1997

GBN

Special British passports

In addition to standard British passports, HM Passport Office issues four types of special UK passports.

Diplomatic passports: Issued to British diplomats and high-ranking government officials

Official passports: Issued to British citizens traveling on official business

Emergency passport: Issued for emergency travel needs to British citizens and citizens of Commonwealth countries in countries where their government has no consular presence

Collective passports: Issued to groups of young children traveling on organized trips to specific European countries

British passport security features

The new generation UK biometric passport issued since Brexit opens with an initial polycarbonate data page embedded with an electronic microprocessor at the rear containing biometric information. The new security features are an inseparable polycarbonate data page, preventing the holder’s identity and biometric information from being replaced, and the passport portrait picture is protected by a Diffractive Optically Variable Image Device (DOVID).

UK Passport Benefits

UK passports function as both an insurance policy and a way of unlocking new opportunities for the holder and their family. British passport holders enjoy a host of lifelong benefits.

Britain’s passport power gets you:

Full residency rights: UK passport holders have unrestricted residency rights in the United Kingdom. Although indefinite leave to remain (ILR) grants permanent residency in the UK, settled residents must return to the UK within two years of leaving or risk losing ILR status. Longer stays outside the United Kingdom require applying for a Returning Resident Visa, which is subject to approval or rejection. British passport holders are not bound to residency restrictions and keep British citizenship for life.

Extensive visa free travel: British passport holders who travel frequently enjoy extensive visa free travel privileges through the UK’s strategic diplomatic relationships with the EU and countries worldwide, including a visa waiver program for the US and Australia. The UK passport consistently ranks among the world’s strongest passports, securing a top position on the Enhanced Mobility Index.

UK citizens benefit from the UK’s extensive network of visa waiver agreements and diplomatic ties, granting them unrestricted access in most cases. This extensive visa-free access is particularly advantageous for business professionals, tourists, and individuals seeking global mobility.

Unrivaled consular assistance: The United Kingdom forms the foundation of Commonwealth nations. The UK monarchy presides over 15 other states forming the Commonwealth, a network of nations that allows UK citizens to seek consular assistance from any Commonwealth government in a country where the British government lacks a consular presence.

Access to high-quality schooling: British citizenship and subsidized high-quality education. This allows British nationals to pursue educational opportunities and research collaborations in the UK’s top universities and institutions. Additional sponsorship and funding programs accessible to UK passport holders

Global Visa Requirements for British Passport Holders

This powerful UK passport allows holders to enjoy an array of unique benefits, including the opportunity to live in the United Kingdom. As a British citizen, you can visit countries on every continent visa-free, with a visa on arrival or an electronic visa.

Let’s take a closer look at the countries accessible to UK citizens.

CountryUnited Kingdom
Afghanistanvisa required
Albaniavisa free (90 days)
Algeriavisa required
Andorravisa free (90 days)
Angolavisa free (30 days)
Antigua and Barbudavisa free (180 days)
Argentinavisa free (90 days)
Armeniavisa free (180 days)
Australiae-visa
Austriavisa free (90 days)
Azerbaijane-visa
Bahamasvisa free (240 days)
Bahrainvisa on arrival
Bangladeshvisa on arrival
Barbadosvisa free (180 days)
Belarusvisa free (30 days)
Belgiumvisa free (90 days)
Belizevisa free
Benine-visa
Bhutane-visa
Bolivia, Plurinational State ofvisa free (90 days)
Bosnia and Herzegovinavisa free (90 days)
Botswanavisa free (90 days)
Brazilvisa free (90 days)
Brunei Darussalamvisa free (90 days)
Bulgariavisa free (90 days)
Burkina Fasovisa on arrival
Burundivisa on arrival
Cambodiavisa on arrival
Cameroone-visa
Canadae-visa
Cabo Verdevisa free (30 days)
Central African Republicvisa required
Chadvisa required
Chilevisa free (90 days)
Chinavisa required
Colombiavisa free (90 days)
Comorosvisa on arrival
Congovisa required
Congo, The Democratic Republic of thee-visa
Costa Ricavisa free (180 days)
Côte d'Ivoiree-visa
Croatiavisa free (90 days)
Cubavisa required
Cyprusvisa free (90 days)
Czechiavisa free (90 days)
Denmarkvisa free (90 days)
Djiboutie-visa
Dominicavisa free (180 days)
Dominican Republicvisa free
Ecuadorvisa free (90 days)
Egyptvisa on arrival
El Salvadorvisa free (90 days)
Equatorial Guineae-visa
Eritreavisa required
Estoniavisa free (90 days)
Eswatinivisa free (30 days)
Ethiopiavisa on arrival
Fijivisa free (120 days)
Finlandvisa free (90 days)
Francevisa free (90 days)
Gabonvisa free (30 days)
Gambiavisa free (90 days)
Georgiavisa free (360 days)
Germanyvisa free (90 days)
Ghanavisa on arrival
Greecevisa free (90 days)
Grenadavisa free (90 days)
Guatemalavisa free (90 days)
Guineae-visa
Guinea-Bissauvisa on arrival
Guyanavisa free (90 days)
Haitivisa free (90 days)
Hondurasvisa free (90 days)
Hong Kongvisa free (180 days)
Hungaryvisa free (90 days)
Icelandvisa free (90 days)
Indiae-visa
Indonesiavisa on arrival
Iran, Islamic Republic ofvisa required
Iraqvisa on arrival
Irelandvisa free
Israelvisa free (90 days)
Italyvisa free (90 days)
Jamaicavisa free
Japanvisa free (90 days)
Jordanvisa on arrival
Kazakhstanvisa free (30 days)
Kenyae-visa
Kiribativisa free (90 days)
Kuwaitvisa on arrival
Kyrgyzstanvisa free (60 days)
Lao People's Democratic Republicvisa on arrival
Latviavisa free (90 days)
Lebanonvisa on arrival
Lesothovisa free
Liberiavisa required
Libyavisa required
Liechtensteinvisa free (90 days)
Lithuaniavisa free (90 days)
Luxembourgvisa free (90 days)
Macaovisa free (180 days)
Madagascarvisa on arrival
Malawivisa on arrival
Malaysiavisa free (90 days)
Maldivesvisa on arrival
Malivisa required
Maltavisa free (90 days)
Marshall Islandsvisa free (90 days)
Mauritaniavisa on arrival
Mauritiusvisa free (90 days)
Mexicovisa free (180 days)
Micronesia, Federated States ofvisa free (30 days)
Moldova, Republic ofvisa free (90 days)
Monacovisa free (90 days)
Mongoliavisa free (30 days)
Montenegrovisa free (90 days)
Moroccovisa free (90 days)
Mozambiquevisa free (30 days)
Myanmare-visa
Namibiavisa free (90 days)
Nauruvisa required
Nepalvisa on arrival
Netherlandsvisa free (90 days)
New Zealande-visa
Nicaraguavisa free (90 days)
Nigervisa required
Nigeriae-visa
Korea, Democratic People's Republic ofvisa required
North Macedoniavisa free (90 days)
Norwayvisa free (90 days)
Omanvisa on arrival
Pakistane-visa
Palauvisa on arrival
Palestine, State ofvisa free
Panamavisa free (90 days)
Papua New Guineae-visa
Paraguayvisa free (90 days)
Peruvisa free (180 days)
Philippinesvisa free (30 days)
Polandvisa free (90 days)
Portugalvisa free (90 days)
Qatarvisa on arrival
Romaniavisa free (90 days)
Russian Federationvisa required
Rwandavisa on arrival
Saint Kitts and Nevisvisa free (180 days)
Saint Luciavisa free (42 days)
Samoavisa on arrival
San Marinovisa free (90 days)
Sao Tome and Principevisa free (15 days)
Saudi Arabiavisa on arrival
Senegalvisa free (90 days)
Serbiavisa free (90 days)
Seychellesvisa free (90 days)
Sierra Leonevisa on arrival
Singaporevisa free (90 days)
Slovakiavisa free (90 days)
Sloveniavisa free (90 days)
Solomon Islandsvisa on arrival
Somaliavisa on arrival
South Africavisa free (90 days)
Korea, Republic ofvisa free (90 days)
South Sudane-visa
Spainvisa free (90 days)
Sri Lankae-visa
Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesvisa free (180 days)
Sudanvisa required
Surinamevisa required
Swedenvisa free (90 days)
Switzerlandvisa free (90 days)
Syrian Arab Republicvisa required
Taiwan, Province of Chinavisa free (90 days)
Tajikistanvisa on arrival
Tanzania, United Republic ofvisa on arrival
Thailandvisa free (30 days)
Timor-Lestevisa on arrival
Togovisa on arrival
Tongavisa on arrival
Trinidad and Tobagovisa free
Tunisiavisa free (90 days)
Turkmenistanvisa required
Tuvaluvisa on arrival
Turkeyvisa free (90 days)
Ugandae-visa
Ukrainevisa free (90 days)
United Arab Emiratesvisa free (30 days)
United Statese-visa
Uruguayvisa free (90 days)
Uzbekistanvisa free (30 days)
Vanuatuvisa free (30 days)
Holy See (Vatican City State)visa free (90 days)
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofvisa free (90 days)
Viet Namvisa free (45 days)
Yemenvisa required
Zambiavisa free (90 days)
Zimbabwevisa on arrival

UK Passport Requirements

The right to British citizenship and a first British passport is assessed and ultimately approved by the Home Office. Among the specific requirements, applicants must prove that they have indefinite leave to remain (settled status) and must take the Oath of Allegiance to get citizenship and a UK passport.

The passport application process and British passport photo size requirements also include the following:

  • A completed Form A (British passport application form) submitted to the HM Passport Office
  • Proof of citizenship (i.e., birth certificate or citizenship certificate)
  • Two passport-size photos

Since 2020, HMPO has issued biometric passports to British citizens with a polycarbonate data page containing biometric information. The British passport booklet includes a digitized image and signature in a chip embedded in the passport.

How to get a UK passport?

Getting a British passport is a simple procedure. However, the due diligence aspect can be challenging. You can be granted British citizenship by naturalization and a British passport 12 months after receiving indefinite leave to remain status.

There are several ways to obtain British citizenship:

British citizenship by birthright

You may be eligible for British citizenship by birthright through being born in the United Kingdom; however, this is determined by when you were born in the UK. For example, you are a British citizen automatically if you were born in the UK or a British colony before 1 January 1983 or born in the UK between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000.

British citizenship by descent

You may be eligible for UK citizenship by descent and a new United Kingdom passport depending on your parents and when you were born:

  • Born before July 2006, and at least one of your parents was a British citizen
  • Born after June 2006, and at least one of your parents was a British citizen born in the UK or received citizenship by naturalization

British citizenship by marriage

You are eligible for British citizenship by marriage if you have a British spouse and have lived with them in the UK for at least three years and hold indefinite leave to remain.

British citizenship by naturalization

You are eligible for British citizenship by naturalization if you have legally resided in the UK for the minimum period required to apply for indefinite leave to remain (usually three to five years, depending on your residence visa) and have held indefinite leave to remain status for 12 months.

UK Dual Citizenship

The United Kingdom recognizes dual citizenship. This means you can acquire British nationality and maintain your original citizenship. The UK has no limits on the number of citizenships you can hold. However, obtaining dual citizenship depends on the other country also allowing it. If you can’t hold dual citizenship status in your native country, you may be required to renounce your citizenship to obtain British citizenship.

British Passport Renewal

qualifying for British citizenship An expiring or expired UK passport renewal procedure involves several steps, and planning ahead is important to ensure you have a valid passport for travel. Here’s a general overview of the process:

  1. Check eligibility: Ensure you are eligible to renew your passport. You can renew your passport if you are an adult and your current passport is either expired or will expire soon. You can renew a child’s passport if they are under 16.
  2. Apply online or by paper form:
  • Online Application: Most people can renew their passport online. Visit the official HMPO website and follow the instructions for online renewal.
  • Paper Form: If you prefer, you can obtain a paper application form from a Post Office branch or by contacting HMPO. Complete the form and follow the instructions for submission.
  • Provide supporting documents:
  • You’ll need to include your current, undamaged passport with the application.
  • If your appearance has changed significantly since your last passport photo, you may need to provide additional supporting documents.
  1. Pay the fee: Pay the required fee for UK passport renewal. The fee will vary depending on the type of passport and processing speed you choose.
  2. Submit your application: For online applications, submit your application electronically. For paper applications, mail your completed form and supporting documents to the address provided on the form.
  3. Receive your new passport: After processing, you’ll receive your new passport by mail. The processing time can vary, but you can pay for a faster service if needed.
  4. Keep old passport: Your old passport will be returned to you. It can be useful to keep, as it may contain visas or entry/exit stamps.

A stolen or lost UK passport replacement process will require a booking appointment to attend an interview at your nearest HM passport office.

UK passport validity

After obtaining your British passport, you are entitled to hold one throughout your lifetime, with the condition that it is renewed every ten years. It’s worth noting that UK passports incorporate biometric security features. UK children’s passports (under 16) are valid for five years.

UK Passport Prices

The cost of a standard 34-page British adult passport is £82.50 when submitting an online passport application and £93 for application documents submitted by post. The respective price for a children’s passport is £53.50 for online applications and £64 for posted application documents.

The UK offers a 50-page for an additional fee to those who travel frequently. The cost is £93.50 for online applications and £104 for posted applications. The cost, including the additional fee for a children’s 50-page passport, is £64.50 for online applications and £75 for posted applications.

The fast-track service to receive a British passport within one week is £155 for an adult passport (£166 for a 50-page passport) and £126 for a child passport (£137 for a 50-page child’s passport).

UK passport renewal fees in 2023 are the same as for new UK passports. A UK passport application for British citizens abroad will generally have different prices. UK citizens born before 2 September 1929 are eligible for a free British passport.

Do I need to stay in the UK?

Applicants for British nationality and a British passport must prove they have a bona fide connection to the country. This means that along with the minimum residency period, applicants must not have spent more than 180 days outside the country each before acquiring indefinite leave to remain and no more than 90 days outside the country before applying for British citizenship.

Is it worth having a British passport?

If you are looking for enhanced mobility for yourself and your family, educational opportunities, and a strong economy with a good job market, a British passport is a good asset to have.

If you would like to discuss your options, we have knowledgeable consultants in investment migration available to assist you today. Whether you are considering the UK’s Investor Founder Visa or another immigrant investor program, our customized approach ensures that we guide you through each phase of the process.

Frequently Asked Questions about the UK Passport

Can you visa free travel with a UK second passport to more than 130 countries?

With a British passport, you can enjoy visa-free, visa on arrival, and electronic visa access to 172 destinations worldwide, including the EU’s Schengen Area, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Is the UK passport biometric?

The United Kingdom issues a biometric passport to UK nationals. Security features include an inseparable polycarbonate date page and a secure electronic microprocessor embedded within the document. This chip stores the individual’s biometric information, including facial features, making the passport more secure and resistant to forgery.

Does the UK have a strong passport?

The UK’s passport ranks 7th out of 197 countries on the Global Passport Index, ranking investment opportunities, global mobility, and the quality of life in all destinations worldwide. With its strong and stable economy and extensive diplomatic relationships, the British passport is considered strong and gives its holders significant travel privileges.

How many countries can you visit with a British passport?

The United Kingdom passport currently ranks in 7th place according to the Global Citizen Solutions Global Passport Index. It provides visa-free, visa on arrival, and electronic visa access to 172 destinations worldwide, which makes it one of the most attractive passports in the world, with a high mobility score.

Which countries are visa-free with a UK passport?

The UK passport visa free countries include most destinations worldwide. British citizens can travel visa-free to 172 destinations globally, including but not limited to the European Union countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Most countries allow British passport holders to enter without applying for a regular visa.

Is it easy to get a British passport?

If you hold British nationality, obtaining a British passport is straightforward. His Majesty’s Passport Office handles passport services for UK citizens, and the online application process through the official website,  https://www.gov.uk, is streamlined.

For those who prefer to apply by post, the UK has seven passport offers that provide travel documentation and passport services– one in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, and four in England.

What is the minimum passport validity to enter the UK

The UK government has no specific minimum passport validity period to enter the UK besides a requirement for the passport to be valid for the entire duration of stay.

How long does it take to get a UK passport in 2023?

UK passports are generally processed and issued within three weeks, provided passport immigration services do not require additional documentation or evidence to support an application. An application for a British passport submitted by post or to a British Embassy or Consulate overseas will usually take longer to process. A UK passport application for minors generally takes the same time to process.

UK immigration and passport services provide a fast-track service. The fast-track UK passport processing time is one week.

Can I still use my red UK passport?

In January 2020, following the official departure from the European Union, the UK discontinued the production of the EU’s red-colored passport and transitioned to issuing blue passports. However, if you still have a red UK passport, you can use it until it expires.

What does GBR mean on a passport?

The abbreviation “GBR” on a passport stands for “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” representing the nationality code and indicating the country of citizenship. British passport holders may have a different nationality code on their passport, depending on their British citizenship. For example, the passport of a British Overseas Territories citizen will have the nationality code “GBD.”

How do I know if my UK passport is an ePassport?

To determine if your UK passport is an ePassport (biometric passport with an electronic chip), you can check the following features:

  • Look for the chip symbol: A visible symbol on the front cover of your passport indicates the presence of an electronic chip. It is often a small rectangle at the bottom of the cover.
  • Data page features: The data page (the page with your personal information) will also have a chip symbol. Additionally, it will contain a chip identification number.
  • Biographical information page: The biographical information page should have a holographic image, and the information is also stored electronically on the embedded chip.

Contactless symbol: Some ePassports have a contactless symbol on the front cover, indicating that the passport can be read without physical contact.

Can you travel if your British passport expires in 3 months?

Many governments require that your passport be valid for a certain period beyond your intended departure date. UK passport validity for travel is often three to six months, but it can vary by country. If your British passport expires in three months, it may not meet the entry requirements for some countries.

To ensure a hassle-free travel experience, it is recommended to renew your British passport before it expires. This is particularly important if you are planning international travel, as entry to some jurisdictions may be denied if your passport does not meet the validity requirements.

How to renew a British passport in the USA

The process to renew a British passport in the USA is straightforward, provided the passport isn’t damaged, lost, or stolen. You can submit the British passport application with a digital photo and pay the passport application fee online through His Majesty’s Passport Office .gov website. The expired/expiring passport must be returned in a secure envelope to begin the renewal process.

What are the UK passport photo requirements?

The United Kingdom has specific requirements for passport photos to ensure clarity and accuracy for identification purposes. These include a color 45 mm by 35 mm photo with a plain, light-colored background. The applicant should have a neutral expression with all facial features clearly visible and no defects in the image, such as red-eye. Glasses must be removed to avoid glare, as well as all head coverings, unless worn for religious purposes.

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