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The process of countersigning a document is when a paper is signed by somebody when that paper has already had a signature from somebody else. In the United Kingdom passport application process, the person providing the second signature has to fulfil certain criteria as well as confirm the authenticity of the passport application.

Under Section 10 of the passport application form, as well as on the back of one of the applicant's passport photos, this second signature is a necessary requirement in all of the following cases

  • First Adult Passport
  • Second Passport
  • Passport Renewal for a child younger than 11 years of age or in the instance of the applicant no longer being recognisable from their existing photograph.
  • As a replacement for damaged, lost, or stolen passports.
  • To extend a passport's expiration date.

How to countersign

Who can countersign your document?

The person who provides the second signature on the application form and the passport photo must:

  • have been known to the applicant for a minimum of 24 months
  • be able to recognise them / identify them
  • have a permanent residence in the United Kingdom
  • Have ownership of a valid British or Irish passport. If the applicant does apply from outside of the UK then a US, EU or Commonwealth passport is sufficient but the provider of the second signature will have to provide a clear, colour photocopy of the main passport page of their passport which will need to contain their colour photograph and all personal details. This photocopy needs to be provided with the countersigned application. Please take note that your application will go more quickly through the system if the counter signatory has ownership of a passport from Great Britain or Ireland.
  • be employed as or in retirement from a recognised profession such as a building society or bank, the police force, local council, religious leader, teaching, accountancy, engineering or law.
  • Also be aware of the fact that they may be contacted and be willing to cooperate with this. This will involve giving his or her passport number on the application form.

For applications for children the second signature provider must also:

  • State that they have been an acquaintance of the adult who has provided a signature for Section 9 of the application form for a minimum of 24 months. They must also be willing to confirm that the adult has parental responsibility of that child. The second signature provider will also be needed to confirm the photo of the child.

The counter signatory is unable to perform this duty if they are:

  • related to the person lodging the application by either marriage or birth
  • in a romantic relationship with the person lodging the application, or living at the same address as that person
  • Working for His Majesty's Passport Office.

Countersigning a photograph and passport application form

The application form

All details on the application form must be checked by the counter signatory once it has been fully completed. When signing and completing the form in Section 10 the counter signatory is confirming that all the details are correct.

The provider of the second signature (the counter signatory) needs to fill in their complete address and all other contact details that the form requires. The address can be from a business or from home, but the counter signatory must be available at this address.

The provider of the second signature needs to insert their initials beside any errors they might make in Section 10.

The counter signatory is confirming the following bullet points when they sign and complete Section 10.

  • The provider of the signature and the applicant has been known to each other for no less than 24 months.
  • The applicant is the individual who he or she claims they are
  • All the information on the form is true and correct, as far as the provider of the second signature is aware.

For applications for children, the person providing the second signature must be fully acquainted with the person in the parental role who is signing the application form rather than the child the application is for, along with confirming the child's passport photo.

The passport photo

The provider of the second signature must hand write the following statement on the back of one of the photographs:

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

A signature is then required from the counter signatory below this sentence, as well as the date.

Additional note

The counter signatory will be checked by the passport office to ensure it is genuine by checking either their profession and identity or their professional qualification.

Be sure to inform the counter signatory that they may be contacted by the passport office when the passport office is performing these checks.

If the passport office is dissatisfied with your choice of counter signatory, or for some reason cannot get hold of that person, they might request that you provide a new application form with a different person acting as the counter signatory.

Check the application process for a Replacement of a Lost, Stolen or Damaged British Passport 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