Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Immigration Corner | Managing changes to personal details in UK passport

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2020 | 12:08 AM
John Bassie
John Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I have a British passport and some of my personal details have changed. How would I go about correcting the data in my passport? I do hope that you are able to assist.

– M.M.

Dear M.M.,

Persons will need to get a new passport to travel abroad, or prove their identity, if they change any of the following:

• Their name;

• Their gender;

• Their appearance, if they cannot be recognised from their passport photo anymore (for example, they may have had plastic surgery).

Persons should be aware that the name on their passport must match the one used when making a reservation to travel.

Persons will be sent a new 10-year passport, and any time left on the old passport will not be added to the new one.

Please note that persons do not need to get a new passport if they:

• Change their address or contact details;

• Get a new job;

• Change their appearance slightly. For example, dye their hair or grow a beard;

• Change their marital status (divorce, marry or form a civil partnership) but keep their name;

• Change their title, for example, doctor or professor;

• Become a national of another country as well as the United Kingdom;

• Emigrate.

It takes up to three weeks to get a passport if the application is made online, and it takes longer if applying by post. Please note that persons may be able to get a passport urgently if they need to travel sooner. Persons should not make a reservation to travel until receiving a valid passport. It should be noted that the new passport will not have the same number as the old one.


Persons can apply for a new passport online, and the cost is £75.50. Please note that because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is taking longer to process paper applications than online applications. Persons are advised to use the online service to get their passport.

Persons can get a paper application form by either going to a post office that has a ‘Check and Send service’ in the United Kingdom or by calling the Passport Adviceline; it costs £85.

Persons should fill in and sign their passport applications using the name that they want to see printed on the passport. Persons must get a countersignature if their appearance has changed and they cannot be recognised from their existing passport. Persons do not need a countersignature if they are changing their name or adding a title.

Please be aware that unexpired visas in a passport may become invalid if persons change their name. Please check with the embassy or consulate of the country that issued the visa.

Persons who have dual citizenship (‘dual nationality’) and have a non-British passport, should ensure that the name on their non-British passport must match the name and gender that is on the application for the British passport. If they are different, persons are advised to change the details on the non-British passport before applying for a new British passport.

I hope this helps.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com