The price of children's passports is going up - here's how to beat the increase

passport price increase

The price of a British passport will rise by £12.50 from 27 March for all applications made by post. This represents a price increase of 17% for adults' passports and 27% for children's passports.

If you're planning a family holiday this year, there are some government changes to passport costs that you'll want to know about.

As of 27 March, the price of a British passport is set to go up by £12.50 for those applying by post.

At the moment, an adult passport costs £72.50 whether you apply for it by post or online. Under the new government pricing, this will rise by 17% to £85 for postal applications.

A child passport currently cost £46 and will go up by £12.50 to £58.50 for postal applications.

What if I buy my passport online?

Applications made online will also go up in price, but only by £3. This means an adult passport will cost £75.50 and a child's will cost £49 when applied for online.

The difference in the price increase for postal and online passport applications is due to the extra costs associated with processing postal applications.

The price for an adult passport using the one-week fast-track service will rise from £103 to £142, and from £128 to £177 using the one-day premium service.

How much will passports cost for a family of four?

The price increase will mean that passports/passport renewals for a family of four (with two adults and two children) will cost £287, compared to the current cost of £237 and the proposed online cost of £249.

So, provided the changes go ahead, it will be £38 more expensive for a family of four to apply by post compared to online.

Although the government has set the date for the price increase as 27 March 2018, the changes are yet to be approved by parliament.

How can I avoid the price increase?

It is worth noting that you can renew your passport whenever you wish to and any time left on your current passport will be transferred to your new one, up to a maximum of nine months. So, if your passport runs out before 27 December, you may wish to get it renewed in the next four weeks (ie before 27 March) at the current, cheaper rate.

Even if your passport expires after 27 December, it may be worth renewing it now and losing a few days (as no more than nine months can be transferred onto your new passport) to save yourself some money.

However, remember that a renewed passport takes three weeks from the day of application to arrive, so avoid renewing yours before 27 March if you have any immediate travel plans.

How long does it take to get your first passport or renew a passport?

It should take around six weeks to get your first adult passport, but it can take longer if more information is needed or your application hasn't been filled out correctly. All other applications, including passport renewals and child passports, take about three weeks, but again can take longer.

How do I apply for a child's passport?

You can apply for a child passport if your child is under 16. A child passport is valid for five years.

It should take three weeks to get the passport – or you can use the one-week fast-track service if you need it urgently (the one-day premium service is not available for child passports).

Remember that any little mistakes in your application can set the process back a fair bit, so it's best to wait until the passport arrives safely before booking a holiday (or else you might end up having to leave the children with their grandparents and have a child-free holiday instead, which would obviously be terrible…)

When it comes to passport photos, the rules are luckily a little more relaxed for babies and children than for adults (although we can't promise that there won't be any bribery/wrangling required to get a semi-decent photo). These are some things to bear in mind when getting your child's passport photo:

  • Children must be on their own in the picture. Babies can't be holding toys or sucking a dummy (yup, that's where the bribery comes in).
  • Children under six don’t have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression.
  • Children under one don't have to have their eyes open. You can support their head with your hand, but your hand must not be visible in the photo.

How do I apply for an adult passport?

You can apply for an adult passport if you are aged 16 or older (or will be within three weeks). An adult passport is valid for 10 years.

It should take six weeks to arrive – or you can use either the one-week fast-track service or the one-day premium service if you need to.