Countersigning a passport – Who is Eligible to be a countersignatory?

Finding Someone Who Can Countersign An Application Is Not Always Easy, What Options Are Available For Applicants?

Applying for a passport is not always easy, especially when it comes to finding someone to countersign your application, especially considering the extensive regulations that exist. Without all the current information, applications are often denied. This forces applicants to redo the entire process or abandon it, costing them valuable money and of course, time.

The best way to ensure you submit an error-free application is by attaining all the knowledge available, and using for your benefit. UK Regulations vary depending on whether you are a new applicant, or if you are applying for a renewal. Either way, we can provide you with all the necessary information surrounding the rules and guidelines of getting your application countersigned, and help you seamlessly navigate the process.

Who Needs A Countersignature?

Only some passport applications require you to include a countersignature with the application.

Check below to see if you will need one before worrying yourself with unnecessary details.

Passport applications that require a countersignature:

  1. Initial passport as child
  2. Initial passport as an adult
  3. Renewing for anyone eleven or younger
  4. Renewing because of a major change to appearance (only if you cannot be recognized in your current photo)
  5. Replacing an unexpired passport (lost, stolen, damaged)

Passport applications that do not require a countersignature:

  1. Name change
  2. Renewal of current passport

How to Proceed If You’re Application Requires a Countersignature

Now that you know you will need to complete this step and secure a countersignature, here is what must be done by the person countersigning for you, and who qualifies as a legal counter signatory.

Requirements that must be met by your counter signatory:

  1. Must have known applicant for a minimum of two years, or their guardian in the case of a minor less than sixteen years old
  2. Must know applicant in more than a professional manner. Relationship should be more involved than simply working together, Friends, neighbors, and colleagues are acceptable
  3. Must have, or be retired from, a valued and recognized profession or have a reputable community reputation

The counter signatory cannot be in an intimate relationship or live at the same address as the applicant. They also cannot be related by birth or marriage.

Previously applicants were able to contact their General Practitioners for a countersignature but this is no longer allowed. The high demand made it infeasible to maintain for doctors inundated with requests. The only exception is if a medical professional is a close friend of the person applying.

For applications from within the UK, the counter signatory must currently live in the UK and possess a valid Irish or British passport.

For applications from outside the UK, the counter signatory must possess a valid passport from either Great Britain, Ireland, the US, other EU nations, or Commonwealths. If their passport is not from the UK a color copy of their passport’s photo page is also required with your application. A UK passport is one way for you to get your application fast-tracked, but you will not be rejected for utilizing another option.

Duties of The Counter Signatory

The person you find to countersign for you will need to ensure that all the required documents (completed forms, supporting documents, and two regulation-sized passport photographs) are included in the application, and that they are all correct. When they sign they are confirming they meet the requirements of a counter signatory, and the applicant has filled out all the forms truthfully and to the best of their knowledge.

They must also include their passport number on the form as well, or your application will not be accepted.

Lastly, on the back of one of the applicant’s photos they must write: “I certify that this a true likeness of (insert full name of applicant).” They must also add their signature and the date to the photo. If the applicant signs the photo for themself it will be rejected and seriously delay the process.

Who Is Eligible To Be A Counter Signatory?

  • Accountant
  • Assurance agent (recognized company) or articled clerk (limited company)
  • Auctioneer or valuer (associate members and fellows)
  • Bank official
  • Barrister
  • Building society official
  • Chairman or Director (limited or VAT-registered company)
  • Chief Petty Officers
  • Chiropodist
  • Councilor
  • Civil servant
  • Dentist
  • Engineer
  • Fire official
  • Funeral director
  • Insurance agent of recognized company (full-time)
  • Insurance or stock broker
  • Journalist
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Legal secretary (associate member or fellow of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs)
  • Local government official
  • Member of Parliament
  • Navy officer
  • Nurse (RGN/RMN)
  • Oath Commissioner
  • Officer of armed service
  • Optician
  • Paralegal (certified, associate member of the Institute of Paralegals, or qualified paralegal)
  • Person honors (MBE or OBE)
  • Personnel officer or manager (limited company)
  • Pharmacist
  • Professional photographer
  • Pilot
  • Police office
  • Postal employee
  • President or secretary (recognized organization)
  • Professional body member, associate, or fellow
  • Public house licensee
  • Religious minister of a recognized religion (Christian Science included)
  • Salvation Army officer
  • Social worker
  • Solicitor
  • Surveyor
  • Teacher
  • Trade union officer
  • Travel agent
  • Warrant Officers

This is a complete list of who is capable of countersigning for you. However, the list does occasionally change so double check that this is current before submitting your application.

Unacceptable Counter Signatories

  • Employees of the HM Passport Office
  • Doctors, exceptions made if they know you outside of their practice and can easily recognize you (close friends)

Notice: It is illegal to place false information on your application, double check for accuracy and completeness before submitting to avoid criminal charges.

Possessing all the necessary information ensures a smooth application process that is easily accomplished and accepted. It is easy to ensure your application will not be rejected when you have all the tools at your disposal. If you require any additional help with the process please do not hesitate to contact us directly through our website, or by phone.

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