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Countersigning the application form and photo


To countersign a document means to sign a paper that has already been signed by someone else. In the case of a UK passport application, the countersignature can only be executed by a specific person and is required to vouch for the authenticity of the application.

The countersignature is mandatory under Section 10 of the passport application form and on the back of one of the passport photos.

When it's needed

The countersignature is mandatory in the following scenarios:

  • First Adult Passport.
  • Second Passport.
  • Passport Renewal for a child less than 11 years of age or when the appearance of the applicant has changed and cannot be recognised from his/her existing passport.
  • Replacement for lost, damaged or stolen passports.
  • To extend a passport.

How to countersign

Who can countersign your document

The counter signatory who signs the application form and the photo must:

  • have known the applicant for at least two years
  • be able to identify him or her
  • lives in the UK
  • Have a valid British or Irish passport. If the applicant applies from abroad, an EU, US or Commonwealth passport is sufficient but the counter signatory will need to provide a colour photocopy of his or her main passport page containing their photograph and personal details. This photocopy must be included with the countersigned application. Note that your application will be processed faster if the counter signatory has a British or Irish passport
  • Work in or be retired from a recognised profession such as bank clerks or building-society employees, members of the police force, county council members, priests or other religious leaders, those with professional qualifications like members of the teaching profession, those working as accountants, people in engineer roles and those in law.
  • Also be willing to be contacted if necessary, and be willing to give his passport number on your application form.

For child applications the counter signatory must also:

  • Confirm that, they have known the adult who has signed section 9 of the application form for at least 2 years. They must also confirm that the person has parental responsibility and confirm the child's photo.

The counter signatory cannot be:

  • Related to the applicant by birth or marriage
  • In a relationship with the applicant, or live at the same address
  • An employee of His Majesty's Passport Office.

How to countersign a passport application form and photo

The application form

Once the applicant has completed the application form, the counter signatory needs to check the details are correct and then complete and sign section 10 with his or her own handwriting.

The counter signatory must give their full address and contact details. This could either be a business or home address, as long as they are contactable there.

They must put their initials next to any mistakes they make in section 10.

By signing and completing section 10 this confirms that:

  • the applicant and the counter signatory have known each other for at least 2 years
  • the applicant is who he or she claims to be
  • As far as the counter signatory knows, all the information on the form is true.

For child applications the counter signatory must know the person with parental responsibility who is signing the application form rather than the child, along with certifying the child's photo.

The passport photo

The counter signatory will need to write the following on the back of one of the passport photos provided:

I certify that this is a true likeness of the applicant [title and full name of the applicant].

The counter signatory must add his or her signature and the date below this statement.

Additional note

  • The passport office will check that the counter signatory is genuine by checking their identity and profession or professional qualification.
  • Please inform the counter signatory that the passport office may contact them and that they will be doing these checks.
  • If the passport office are not satisfied with your choice, or cannot get hold of the counter signatory, they may ask you to send in a new application form with a different counter signatory.
  • The passport photo that is countersigned must be in colour and against a slightly off white background, e.g. a cream or light grey background. Your entire face should be in the photograph and no parts of the head should be cut or missing. You should look straight at the camera. In addition you should not smile, and hold a neutral expression. The applicant should not be wearing sun glasses, or have any other people or pets in the photo. No headgear should be worn except headgear worn for medical or religious reasons. There should be no shadows in the picture, and your face should not be covered by your hair. Children and babies must be photographed on their own. Both sides of the photo must be clear unless it needs to be countersigned.

Check the application process for a First British Passport Application and order a pre check online


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*Disclaimer: We are a private company and this is a commercial website to apply for a passport applications. You will be charged a fee for using our services. You are also able to apply directly through the His Majesty's Passport Office where you will not pay any additional service fees. Should you wish to apply directly with the embassy you may do so here