Who can sign my passport photos and application form? We’ve all the information you need here

Applying for new or renewed passport? You might need to get new photos taken and your form signed – but just who can you ask to countersign these valuable documents?

Here we look at all the information you need to get your passport application back on track. Here’s the easy-to-follow guide you’ll need.

Find out who can and can't sign your passport photo

Find out who can and can’t sign your passport photoimage credit

When do I need to get my passport photo and form, or those of children, signed?

You’ll need to get two passport photos and form signed – by a person qualified to do so – if the applicant falls into any of these categories…

  • First adult passport
  • First child passport
  • Replacement for a lost, stolen or damaged passport
  • Renewal of a passport for a child aged 11 or under
  • Renewal of a passport if your appearance has changed and you can’t be recognised from your existing passport

Who can sign my passport photos and form?

Firstly, they must satisfy the following criteria:

1) Have known the person applying (or the adult who signed the form if the passport is for a child under 16) for at least 2 years

2) Be able to identify the person applying, eg they’re a friend, neighbour or colleague (not just someone who knows them professionally)

3) Be ‘a person of good standing in their community’ or work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession. See below.

If you’re applying in the UK the countersignatory must:

1) Live in the UK

2) Have a current British or Irish passport

If you’re applying outside the UK the countersignatory must:

Hold a current British, Irish or other EU, US or Commonwealth passport.

If they hold a US, Commonwealth, or non-British or non-Irish EU passport, your application must include a colour photocopy of the page with their photograph on it.

Tip: Applications will be processed faster if they are signed by someone with a British or Irish passport.

Recognised professions

Choose a person working in or retired from one of the following professions sign your photos (they must also satisfy the criteria listed above).

Airline pilot
Articled clerk of a limited company
Assurance agent of recognised company
Bank/building society official
Chairman/director of limited company
Commissioner for oaths
Councillor, eg local or county
Civil servant (permanent)
Director/manager/personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
Engineer – with professional qualifications
Financial services intermediary, eg a stockbroker or insurance broker
Fire service official
Funeral director
Insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
Justice of the Peace
Legal secretary – fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs
Licensee of public house
Local government officer
Manager/personnel officer of a limited company
Member, associate or fellow of a professional body
Member of Parliament
Merchant Navy officer
Minister of a recognised religion – including Christian Science
Nurse – RGN or RMN
Officer of the armed services
Paralegal – certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals
Person with honours, eg an OBE or MBE
Photographer – professional
Police officer
Post Office official
President/secretary of a recognised organisation
Salvation Army officer
Social worker
Teacher, lecturer
Trade union officer
Travel agent – qualified
Valuer or auctioneer – fellows and associate members of the incorporated society
Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers

Who can’t sign my photos?

Apart from people not working in a ‘recognised profession’ or not being ‘a person of good standing in their community’, official guidelines also bar the following from signing:

Your countersignatory can’t:

Work for HM Passport Office

Be a doctor, unless they state that they know you well (eg good friend) and that they recognise you easily from your photo.

Can a relative or partner sign my photos?

No. The person signing photos cannot be:

Related by birth or marriage

Be in a relationship with or live at the same address as the person applying.

What does the countersignatory need to write on the photo?

He or she must write the following on the reverse of one of the two photographs you have.

‘I certify that this is a true likeness of [title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport].’

They must then sign and date the photo underneath the statement.

What else do I need to know?

The person who signs your form and photo could be contacted by HM Passport Office for additional information. The process could be delayed if they’re not available – on holiday for example.

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5 comments for “Who can sign my passport photos and application form? We’ve all the information you need here

  1. Karen Betson
    26/02/2019 at 6:53 pm

    I am an office administrator for a firm of solicitors. Can I countersign a child’s first passport?

  2. Jason
    15/06/2018 at 12:50 pm

    Can my universal credit coach hoo works in the job center countersign my passport application and photo please

  3. Trina wade
    17/05/2018 at 8:01 am

    Can a hairdresser of 25 yrs sight a passport

  4. Heather
    08/03/2018 at 9:03 pm

    can a cousin that is a teacher? countersign a passport photo.

    • michelle pollitt
      20/03/2018 at 7:22 pm

      Can a person not in one of the professions mentioned countersign a passport

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