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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Who can countersign your application?

Once you have completed and signed the application form, you need to ask someone to fill in and countersign section 10. This person is your countersignatory. They should certify your photo if necessary. Find out who you can ask to do this by checking the list of suitable professions.

Do you need to get your application countersigned?

You need to get your application countersigned if you are applying:

  • for a first passport
  • to replace a lost stolen or damaged passport
  • to renew a passport for a child aged 11 or under
  • to renew a passport when your appearance has changed so much that it would be hard to recognise you from the photo in your last or current passport

What the countersignatory has to do

Avoid delays

IPS may need to contact your countersignatory, so make sure they'll be available and won't be away on holiday

Your countersignatory must sign the form at section 10 to confirm that:

  • they have known you for more than two years
  • you are who you claim to be

If the form is for a child passport, the countersignatory should know the person who signs the declaration at section 9 rather than the child.

The application form asks the countersignatory to enter their current British passport number (Irish passport numbers are also acceptable). This is so the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) can check their identity.

You should give the countersignatory:

  • your completed application form (signed and dated at section 9)
  • photographs
  • documents
  • fee
  • envelope

That way they can seal the application after completing section 10.

When you have to use a countersignatory IPS may need to contact them. Make sure they will be available and aren't on holiday. If they are away it will delay your application

Getting your photos certified

Your countersignatory should also certify one of your photos if the application is for a:

  • first passport
  • replacement passport
  • passport renewal and you look very different from the photo in your most recent passport

They do this by writing on the back as follows:

  • ‘I certify that this is a true likeness of [Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms or other title followed by your full name]’

They must then sign and date the statement. It is not enough just to sign and date the photograph.

Who you can ask to be your countersignatory

Your countersignatory should:

  • have known you for at least two years
  • live in the UK

Your countersignatory should not:

  • be related to you by birth or marriage
  • be in a personal relationship with you
  • live at the same address as you
  • work for the Identity and Passport Service

The occupation of your countersignatory will not determine whether or not your application will be successful. The issue of a passport relies on an applicant satisfying a number of criteria. Therefore, the list of occupations below is purely for guidance and not an exhaustive list of occupations. However, you should try to get a countersignatory who is a person of good standing in your local community. If you are not sure who to ask, call the IPS Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.

  • accountant
  • airline pilot
  • articled clerk of a limited company
  • assurance agent of recognised company
  • bank/building society official
  • barrister
  • chairman/director of limited company
  • chiropodist
  • commissioner of oaths
  • councillor (local or county)
  • civil servant (permanent), but not someone who works for IPS
  • dentist
  • director/manager of a VAT-registered charity
  • director/manager/personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
  • engineer (with professional qualifications)
  • financial services intermediary (eg a stockbroker or insurance broker)
  • fire service official
  • funeral director
  • insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
  • journalist
  • Justice of the Peace
  • legal secretary (fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs)
  • licensee of public house
  • local government officer
  • manager/personnel officer (of a limited company)
  • member, associate or fellow of a professional body
  • Member of Parliament
  • Merchant Navy officer
  • minister of a recognised religion (including Christian Science)
  • nurse (RGN and RMN)
  • officer of the armed services (active or retired)
  • optician
  • paralegal (certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals)
  • person with honours (an OBE or MBE, for example)
  • pharmacist
  • photographer (professional)
  • police officer
  • Post Office official
  • president/secretary of a recognised organisation
  • Salvation Army officer
  • social worker
  • solicitor
  • surveyor
  • teacher, lecturer
  • trade union officer
  • travel agent (qualified)
  • valuer or auctioneer (fellows and associate members of the incorporated society)
  • Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers

Additional links

Need passport advice?

For help, call the IPS Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.

The Adviceline is open:
- 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday
- 9.00 am to 5.30 pm weekends and public holidays

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