Getting a second passport

*You can read about my experience of applying for a second passport using the premium 1 day service here.

Good news – it is possible for British citizens to acquire a second passport. The process itself is relatively straight forward assuming you meet the criteria although there is no official information available on Her Majesty’s Passport Office’s website. I can only guess that this is meant to deter people from applying as a second passport should only be attained for business reasons – unfortunately they don’t look kindly on leisure travellers applying.

You’ll need to fall into one of the following two groups to be in with a chance of success;

  1. You are travelling frequently for business and need to lodge your passport with an embassy which may hold it for a significant period of time / need to apply for multiple visas simultaneously.
  2. You are travelling between countries that are in conflict / incompatible for example Iran and Israel.

A key point to make is that your second passport will not be a duplicate of the passport you currently hold, it will be completely new; different passport number, different expiry date and potentially even a different photo. It will be valid for 10 years and should you need to renew it, you will have to follow the steps below again to prove your ongoing need.

You apply for a second passport the same way you would apply for your first. This can be done by post (inside UK, outside UK) or in person at one of the passport offices (find your nearest one here). To make an appointment at one of the service centres, call the Passport Advice Line on +44 (0) 300 222 0000. They will take payment on the call so ensure you have your debit/credit card handy.

As the second passport is not a renewal or replacement, be sure to state that you are applying for your first adult passport and request your existing passport not to be cancelled. If you call up to book your appointment, the phone operator should be aware of the process for second passports – if not, put the phone down and try again.

As this is technically a first passport application, the form will need to be filled out fully (including your parents’ passport details) and will be checked rigorously. Depending on the nature of your citizenship, the documents required for submission may be different. Normally it will include at least one of the following;

  • Your current British passport
  • Your full birth certificate
  • Your adoption certificate
  • Your mother’s/father’s full UK birth certificate
  • The Home Office certificate of registration or naturalisation
  • A British passport belonging to one of your parents that was valid when you were born
  • A current British passport number for either parent

The detailed requirements can be found here. Should you find yourself still unsure, consult the guidance booklet which came with your application form.

N.B You must send original copies of the documents. Photocopies are not accepted and certified documents will only be accepted where they are a certified copy of an original document not in English or Welsh. 

When applying you will need the following;

  • A passport application form (complete sections 1,2,3,4,5,8,9 using section 8 to request your current passport not be replaced and ensuring section 10 is countersigned)
  • 2 passport photos (countersigned by a professional person (i.e. police officer, civil servant, teacher, accountant) who has known you for at least 2 years)
  • The passport fee (although if you book over the phone, this will already have been taken care of)
  • A supporting letter from your employer (see below)
  • A cover letter (if required, providing any additional information missing from your employer’s supporting letter)

The supporting letter from your employer will need to be on headed paper, dated no earlier than 4 weeks before you make your application and completed with a wet signature. The contents of the letter should include;

  • The employee’s full name, DOB, nationality & passport number
  • A quick introduction to the company and the nature of its work
  • An explanation of the employee’s role & responsibilities within the country that result in the need to travel
  • A detailed explanation of the circumstances under which the employee needs a second passport (ideally providing the travel plans: countries and proposed dates of travel)

That should be it! Do let me know how you get on and don’t forget to remind them not to cancel your first passport! 


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