Updated on May 2, 2019
If you travel frequently, you may be eligible for a second UK passport.
That’s not a replacement, renewal or extension, but a second valid passport. There are various reasons you might need one; some visas can take up to 30 working days to come back to you (see Visas: Access granted), and countries may not allow access to those who have travelled to a “hostile nation”, meaning you don’t want that stamp in your passport.
It’s not something the government shouts about – there is very little information about how to get a second passport on gov.uk, for example – so here is our step-by-step guide on how to apply.
1. Check if you are eligible
You must be aged 16 or over and have a valid reason for needing a second passport, though it is not guaranteed that you will be granted one.
The most common applications for a second passport are from frequent business travellers. You will need a letterhead paper from your employer, signed and dated, explaining why you need the document for work. If you are a business owner or self-employed, the letter will need to come from a contractor or colleague. The document does not need to be signed by a British passport holder.
If you want to query your eligibility, call the Passport Advice line on 0300 222 0000 (Monday to Friday 0800 to 2000, or 0900 to 1730 on weekends and bank holidays).
2. Fill out an application
You can do this by post or online.
Post Offices will have a passport application form – this will be the same form you would use if you were applying for a replacement or renewed passport.
If this is your first time applying for a second passport, tick the box for ‘Your first British passport’ in Section 1 (even though it isn’t). If it is not your first time, tick the ‘replacement’ box. In either case, you must write in Section 8 – ‘More information’ – that you are applying for a second passport for business reasons.
Fill in the rest of the form as normal. The same applies if you apply online at gov.uk/apply-renew-passport.
As well as the signed letter from your employer, you will need:
- A countersignature from a non-related individual you have known for at least two years, who works in a recognised profession. This person must be a UK passport holder
- Two recent passport photos, one of which must be signed by your counter-signatory
However, both options will require you to send your valid passport with your application. If you cannot be without your passport, you can pay more to use a fast-track service – visit gov.uk/get-a-passport-urgently to see the various options.
These can be delivered in as quickly as four hours. Note that the service is not available overseas (if you urgently need a passport overseas, you will need an emergency travel document, but this is only available if yours is lost, stolen, damaged, full, expired or with HM Passport Office or a foreign embassy).
You will have to pay the same fee that is required for a first passport. The price can vary but it is usually around £80 – see the list of fees here. You can pay this by cash, cheque or by filling out the credit/debit card form at the back of the application.
The fee is non-refundable, even if your application is rejected.
4. Wait for a reply
Once you have sent off your application, you can track its status online. It may take several weeks.
When your application has been processed, supporting documents (eg birth certificate) will be returned to you free of charge via second-class post. You can pay an extra £5 to have your documents returned by secure delivery. If you are successful, your passport will follow.
And as a commenter points out on this forum thread, it’s best not to show off both passports at immigration in foreign countries – it’s not a concept every officer will be familiar with.