British citizens living in the United States periodically face a problem familiar to expatriates around the world: renewing their passport while abroad. In the United State, Britons may face the added problem of living hundreds or even thousands of miles from the British Embassy in Washington. Thankfully whether it be in person or by mail, renewing a British passport is a simple and uncomplicated matter.
Download and print the C1 form and C1 notes page, and fill out the C1 form. The C1 notes page is for your information, so keep that until your new passport has arrived. Those aged 15 or younger should use the C2 document set instead. The C1 and C2 document sets can be downloaded from the Foreign Office “UK in the US” website, or picked up in person at the British Embassy.
Take two new passport photos. These identical photos must be in color, no more than a month old, free of glare or red-eye and have a cream, white or light gray background. They must also be of the standard passport size (45 millimetres high x 35 millimetres wide) and present a clear picture of the applicant and the applicant only. Given all of these requirements, it is recommended that you have a professional take these photos, rather than do it yourself.
Draw up a cashier’s check, certified check or money order in the amount necessary to pay your passport renewal fees, if you intend to pay by mail. This should be made payable to the British Embassy Government Account, and denominated in U.S. dollars. Payments in person can be made with a credit card during your submission at the British Embassy. Prior appointments are not necessary.
Gather additional documents if you intend to make a name change as part of your passport renewal If you are recently married and changing your name, you must also submit your marriage certificate. If you are recently divorced and reverting to your maiden name, you must also submit your birth certificate and divorce certificate. If you are changed your name for other reasons, submit the relevant naturalization certificate, court order or other document. Only originals, not photocopies, are acceptable for these documents.
Submit the C1 or C2 application form, two passport photos, your old passport, name-change relevant documents (if any) and the appropriate fee. You can do this either in person or by mail through the UK Passport Service for the Americas and Caribbean at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Passport renewal applications are sometimes asked to appear in person for an interview, the purpose of which is to combat fraud and passport forgery. If you are renewing an an old-style blue passport, or have changed your name for a reason other than marriage, civil partnership or divorce, this interview is compulsory. You should therefore renew your passport well in advance, and allow for the time to compensate for an interview at the British Embassy. If you are required to appear for a passport interview, you will be contacted by an Embassy official.
The UK Passport Service for the Americas and Caribbean states that the anticipated processing and return time for a passport renewal is 4 weeks. However, you may apply for passport renewal up to 9 months in advance.
It is recommended by the UK Passport Service for the Americas and Caribbean that if you intend to submit your passport renewal by mail, that you use a registered, traceable courier service such as Federal Express or UPS.
Sources: ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/en/passports/passport-fees; ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/en/passports/how-to-apply; direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Passports/Applicationinformation/DG_174152