British passport renewals and applications from South Africa are now processed exclusively online.
The online British passport application form will need to be completed and you will need to have digital photographs taken, as well.
British passport applications can be stressful and tedious but if you follow MyBritishPassport’s tips below, you should be able to speed up the process and have your new passport as soon as possible.
Top tips to speed up your British passport application
1. Use a courier service.
When renewing your British passport, you will be required to send in your current/old UK passport. First-time British passport applications may also involve your having to send in original documents to Her Majesty’s Passport Office and, in such cases, we highly recommend using a reliable courier service.
If possible, request a tracking number for your package for added peace of mind and so that you can see when it has arrived at the passport office or take action if there is a problem.
MyBritishPassport does not advise using the South African postal service for sending in your original and important documents as they have proven to be unreliable and slow in recent years.
Here at MyBritishPassport, we have a reliable courier service that we use when sending in our clients’ documentation to the passport office and this helps to prevent items going missing or being delayed in transit.
2. Get an expert to check your application before sending.
As the saying goes, “more haste, less speed”. This is especially true for UK passport applications and renewals. Although it may feel tempting to complete your forms as quickly as possible and get your british passport application submitted without delay, it is definitely worth taking your time and ensuring that your forms have been completed accurately and that your photos are compliant.
Remember that if there is an error on your passport forms, there is a good chance that the passport office will reject your application and your haste will have resulted in a delay, not to mention frustration.
If you know someone who has experience with completing British passport applications, it could be a good idea to enlist their help with checking your forms. MyBritishPassport specializes in assisting UK nationals living in South Africa with their passport renewals and our team of British passport specialists are well-versed in all aspects of the process.
Simply complete our easy, online form and we will check your application forms and guide you through the entire process.
3. Ensure that your photos and supporting documents are in line with requirements.
As mentioned above, any mistakes in your passport application (and this includes your passport photos) can result in a rejection.
It is therefore very important that each element of the application is correct and in line with Her Majesty’s Passport Office’s requirements.
MyBritishPassport can assist you with ensuring that everything is correct and complete. All you need to do is fill in our easy, online form, and we will take it from there.
4. Consider applying during the UK winter months.
It is a well-known fact in the UK that the passport office is always much busier during the UK summer (ie, June, July and August) than in the winter months.
The reason for this is that Brits often have their passports renewed in the run-up to their summer holidays when they realize that their passports are due to expire.
If possible, consider renewing your British passport in December, January or February as this could mean the difference of a few weeks.
Remember, however, that you will need to have at least 6 month’s validity left on your passport before traveling and it must also be no older than 10 years.
5. Apply via the “fast track” option, if necessary.
Have you forgotten to renew your passport and do you need to travel quite soon? Don’t panic! If you need a new British passport urgently, you could apply via the fast track option.
Of course, the fast track option does come at a premium but might be the only option for you.
The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed the renewal and processing of passports at Her Majesty’s Passport Office and it can take around an additional two weeks.
If even the fast track option is not quick enough for you, you could consider applying for an emergency travel document. This would involve contacting the British High Commission, Consulate or Embassy in your nearest city and attending an interview, if needed.
In this case, you may need to provide evidence of a police report (in the case of a stolen passport) and any other documentation, as required.
Have additional questions about the British passport renewal process? Contact a member of the MyBritishPassport team below and we will get in touch shortly.