British passports can be renewed on-line using the Gov.uk website https://www.gov.uk/renew-adult-passport/renew. The instructions on the website are relatively easy to follow. You will be required to provide a digital photograph. However, if your computer has a camera you can take the picture with it while completing the online application. If you do not have access to a camera on your computer, the website gives explanations on how you can submit your digital photo.
The current cost is £75.50 and can be paid by credit card. The site gives an expected processing time of 10 weeks, although recent experiences have seen turn around times varying from 4 weeks to over 16 weeks. It is recommended that you do not leave it to the last minute to renew your passport.
Passports are now all issued for a 10 year period. This means that if you renew your current passport before its expiry date, you will “lose” the weeks or months that remain. The reason for this is that the regulation has changed so that no passport can be valid for more than 10 years – so if your current passport was for more than 10 years due to remaining time from the previous one being added in, it will not be valid for most international travel after the 10th anniversary of its issue. Your new passport will automatically have a 10 year life (unless you are applying for a child’s passport which only lasts 5 years).
Please note that UK resident British Citizens must have at least three months remaining on their passport after the date they expect to return to the UK in order to enter France. This does not apply to French resident British Citizens who hold a French Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit who can enter France on their passport up to its expiry date (or 10 years after issue if earlier).
If you are a dual national, you will be required to send a full copy of every page of your French passport (even those which are blank) with your application. Once you have completed the online form, you will be asked to print a paper which lists the documents you are required to send to the passport office by post, which will include the copy of your French passport. This paper gives the address to which the documents should be sent. The documents will be returned to you after they have been checked.
WARNING: If you are a married woman, or a widow who still uses your married name on your British passport, you may have to take additional steps as your French passport will use your maiden name. Your passport renewal request may be refused because your French passport and British passport are not in the same name. If this is the case, you will need to send the passport office the following documents:
1. A photocopy of the email you have received from the passport office refusing your application (which gives your reference number, avoids any confusion and saves you paying twice).
2. A photocopy of your marriage certificate (or Livret de Famille if you were married in France).
3. A recent “proof of identity” that shows your married name and your French address – e.g. a French utility invoice if it is in your married name, and/or other documents (e.g. from the Pensions office in the UK).
4. An “attestation” signed by an appropriate French official – Mairie, Notaire,… (see sample below).
5. A letter explaining the situation (which includes relevant references to the Passport Office documents) (see sample below).
SAMPLE ATTESTATION (to prepare in French and English)
Template in Word is available as Download 1
En France, le passeport est établi au nom de famille. Ce nom figure sur l’acte de naissance.
Il est néanmoins possible d’utiliser dans la vie quotidienne un autre nom appelé nom d’usage, par exemple le nom de l’époux pour les femmes mariées. On peut faire figurer le nom d’usage à la suite du nom de famille sur les documents d’identité. Dans ce cas, il faut renseigner la rubrique deuxième nom du formulaire de demande.
Fait à , le XX juillet 2022
In France, the passport is established in the birth name. This is the name on the birth certificate.
It is possible to use, in everyday life, another name called “name for general use”, for example, the husband’s name for married women.
This name can be written after the birth name on identity papers. In this case, the section “second name” must be completed on the application form.
, XX July 2022
The “attestation” is to be signed by someone “official” (Mairie, Notaire…)
SAMPLE LETTER (to be completed by the British citizen renewing their passport)
Template in Word is available as Download 2
UK Passport application for Mrs XXXXX
Application reference: XXXXX (as per the “rejection” email received from the passport office)
To whom it may concern
I, XXX XXX XXX , née XXXXXX, am a British citizen with dual nationality, British-French and live in France.
I am applying to renew my British passport in the surname XXX. On my French passport (copy enclosed with former correspondence), the surname is XXXXXX followed by my married name written as “ép. XXX”, “ép.” short for “épouse” meaning spouse.
In France, official documents such as passports and identity papers are made out in one’s birth name, the name on the birth certificate. It is not possible to change this.
I see in the Home Office documents “Use and Change of Names” (page 6, paragraph 27) and “Annex A: use of names in passports” (page 7, paragraph 6.6i) (enclosed) that it should be possible for a passport to be issued to me in my married name.
I enclose an attestation signed by [describe person signing the attestation, e.g. Mayor’s Office, Notary,…], explaining that French passports are established in the birth name. I also enclose a marriage certificate and a proof of address showing my married name… (add here as well any other official documents you may see as necessary).
Address: Signed: Date:
Enclosed: Attestation form signed by….
Extract from my marriage certificate
French utility invoice / Letter from UK Pensions Office or similar
Extracts from Use and Change of Names & Annex A
Extract from “Use and Change of Names”, Home Office
Normally dual nationals will be expected to align the name on their foreign passport or identity card with the names requested on Home Office issued documents.
However, where individuals can provide evidence that they are unable to change their name in their foreign issued documents, the Home Office will exceptionally consider allowing them to use a different name in a Home Office issued document (See Annex A). This may include married naturalised British citizens who are unable to change the family name on their foreign passport due to legal requirements. Such individuals may also be asked to provide evidence that they are living in the new name for all other official purposes.
Where, in exceptional circumstances, a different name is allowed for dual nationals then this will be recorded on Home Office systems and as an observation in the British Passport.
Extract from “Annex A/ use of names in passports”, Home Office
Name for all official purposes
6.6 Subject to the applicant being able to satisfy the following requirements, a passport may be issued in the name requested even where it differs from the name on the passport issued by another country. The following categories may be given exceptional consideration:
i. The law in the applicant’s country of origin restricts or prevents a change of name. Where there is such a restriction, the applicant will be required to provide evidence from their country of origin that a change of name is not permissible;
ii. The country of origin does not permit dual nationality meaning alignment of documentation will not be possible, the applicant will be required to provide confirmation from the country of origin that their citizenship has been cancelled;
iii. Where there is a requirement for the person to travel to their country of origin in order to change their name, and due to exceptional circumstances in their country of origin, they would be placed at a high level of risk;
iv. The applicant has changed their name as a result of a change of gender and the law in the applicant’s country of origin does not recognise or permit a change of gender;
6.7 In the case of points (i) and (iii) above, a (British) passport may be issued and an observation placed in the passport saying:
“The holder has a [country]passport, number [ ] issued on [date] in the name of [ ]. This passport is due to expire on [date].”