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Countersigning the application form and photo

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The definition of countersigning a document is to provide your signature to a paper that has previously been signed by someone who isn't you. The countersignature can only be provided by a certain person, in the instance of a UK passport application, and is needed to prove that the application is an authentic one.

The countersignature is required under Section 10 of the passport application form as well as on the back of one of the photos.

When is it needed?

The countersignature is a necessary requirement in the following scenarios:

  • First Adult Passport.
  • Second Passport
  • Passport Renewal for a child who is below the age of 11 or when the appearance of the person applying has changed beyond recognition from his/her existing passport.
  • To replace a stolen, lost or damaged passport
  • To extend your current passport.

How to countersign

Who do I countersign my document?

The person who signs the application form and the passport photo must:

  • have been acquainted with the applicant for a minimum of two years
  • be able to recognise/identify the applicant
  • live permanently in the UK
  • Own a valid passport from Britain or Ireland. When applying from overseas, an EU, US or Commonwealth passport is enough but they will also need to include a colour photocopy of the main passport page of his or her passport, which should contain their personal details and photograph. This colour photocopy needs to be included with the countersigned application form. Please note that your application will be processed much faster if the counter signatory has a passport from Britain or Ireland.
  • Still be working as or retired from a recognised professional role. Such roles might be: bank or building-society workers, policemen or women, civil servants, religious ministers, teachers, engineers or accountants.
  • Be agreeable to being contacted when necessary, and be able to provide to give his or her passport number on the application form.

For applications for a child passport the counter signatory must also:

  • Confirm that they have been acquainted with the adult who has provided a signature for Section 9 of the application form for at least 24 months. This person must also confirm the child's photo and agree that the person who provided the signature for Section 9 has parental responsibility.

It is not allowed for the counter signatory to be:

  • related, by birth or marriage, to the applicant
  • live at the same house as the applicant, or be in a relationship with them
  • Work for His Majesty's Passport Office.

How do I countersign a passport application form and photo?

The application form

On completing the application form, the person who has provided the countersignature needs to check that all details on the form are correct before signing Section 10 with their own handwriting.

The person providing the countersignature needs to provide all of their contact details including their full address. This address can be from either a business or home, provided that person is reachable there.

In Section 10 any mistakes made need to be accompanied by the initials.

By completing and providing a signature in Section 10 these actions confirm that:

  • The counter signatory and the applicant have been acquainted for at least 24 months.
  • the applicant is the person who he or she claims to be
  • all the information on the form is accurate and correct, as far as the person providing the signature knows

The counter signatory must know the person with parental responsibility when they provide a signature for a child's application, and not just the child. However, they will also be required to confirm the child's photo.

Passport photograph

The person providing the countersignature is required to write the following statement on the back of one of the passport photographs provided:

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

They must then add the date below this statement and their signature.

Additional note

  • By checking the identity and profession of the person providing the countersignature, the passport office will be able to check that the counter signatory is genuine.
  • You must let the counter signatory know that there is a chance the passport office might get in touch with them to do these checks.
  • If the passport office are not satisfied with your choice, or cannot get hold of the counter signatory, they might ask you to send in a new application form with a different counter signatory.
  • The signed passport photo must not be in black and white, but in colour and against a background that is slightly off white.
  • The applicant's whole face should be able to be seen in the photograph with no parts of the head cut out or missing. The applicant should be looking straight into the camera lenses and not smiling, but holding a neutral expression.
  • Only the applicant, no pets or other people, should appear in the photo. Sunglasses or headgear should not be worn except if the applicant has religious or medical reasons for doing so. Shadows are not permitted in the photograph, and hair should be kept out of the face.
  • Children and babies need to have their photo taken on their own.
  • Unless the back is being countersigned, both sides of the photograph must be clear.

Check the application process for a Child application and order it 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