Choosing a suitable countersignatory for your passport photo

The passport process isn’t anywhere near as simple as snapping a photo and sending it off to be authorised. Instead, there are important forms to fill in before you can even think about leaving the country. One of the biggest obstacles you may face is finding a countersignatory. If you’re unsure if you require a countersignatory and who can be one for you, here’s what you need to know.

What is a countersignatory?

A countersignatory is someone who will sign one of your passport photos and your supporting application to vouch that it is actually you on the picture.

Do you need one?

You won’t always need a supporting signature when completing your application. For instance, if you’re simply renewing your passport and your appearance hasn’t changed, you should be fine without a countersignatory. However, you will need one if you’re applying for your first passport, if you’ve lost or damaged your old one, or if your appearance has changed significantly since you last submitted a passport photo.

Who can act as a countersignatory?

You must make sure that the person you ask you to sign your passport photo fits all the necessary criterion. Firstly, they must live in the UK and be in possession of a British or Irish passport. They must also have known you for more than two years and be able to identify you. You can’t be related to the countersignatory by birth, be in a relationship with them or live at the same address. Perhaps the biggest hurdle for many is that their countersignatory must work in a recognised profession and must be ‘a person of good standing in their community’.

What is classed as a ‘recognised profession’?

The official passport guidelines offer a list of recognised professions. This includes – but is not limited to – journalists, dentists, accountants, barristers, police officers and teachers.

Follow the guidelines carefully

Your passport application will be rejected if your countersignatory is unsuitable. If this happens, this could result in you having to take alternative passport photos if you don’t have spare copies. Follow the guidelines carefully and you should be able to avoid any delay.

How to put your ego to one side when taking a passport photo

It’s officially the social media generation. This means you are probably used to taking pictures – sometimes a dozen or more – with the intention of posting the results to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On these platforms, it’s become OK to be vain. However, there is still no room for vanity when it comes to the passport process. Therefore, you should be prepared to follow the guidelines exactly or risk major delays. If you are prone to the odd spell of narcissism, it’s time to put your ego to one side. Here are four ways you can do this.

Avoid the latest fashion trends

It doesn’t matter if you think you suit hats or that you look fabulous in sunglasses. If you wear anything that is deemed unacceptable on your passport photo you’ll be forced to take it again before you can even think about jetting off on holiday.

Don’t try to impress

There’s no reason why your friends or relatives should have to see your passport photo. Therefore, if you go above and beyond it’ll only be for the benefit of strangers at the airport. If you feel the need to get dressed up to the nines, that’s fine. But don’t try posing at an angle or smiling because your picture won’t be accepted.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you’re not sure if your passport photo is suitable, then swallow your pride and ask for help. If you think you haven’t met the required guidelines, it is better to know before you send the picture off to be processed with your passport.

Don’t give out too many pictures

In the event that you do take a fabulous picture, don’t go around giving it out. Not only will you need two copies for the official passport application, it’s advisable that you keep a few spare incase they are needed for any further documents down the line.

Good luck

The guidelines are clear when it comes to what is and what isn’t acceptable for your passport photo. Once you’ve follow them to a T, you should find your passport will be processed in a speedy fashion.

Photo: #Selfie by ellendv13 licensed under Creative commons 2

The best tricks for ensuring your child’s passport photo is suitable

It’s not uncommon for parents to dread sorting their child’s passport photo. After all, the process can be frustrating and time-consuming for everyone involved. Luckily, there are a few tricks that can help things run a little more smoothly for those looking to get a passport photo for their youngster. Here are four bits of advice that should help you out.

Check the guidelines

The official guidelines do realise that it can be hard for parents to get a decent passport picture for their child if they’re five or under. If you familiarise yourself with the rules, you’ll find that your child doesn’t need to have a neutral expression on their face, nor do they have to look straight into the camera. Meanwhile, there are even less rules surrounding babies.

Practice at home

Even with the lax rules, it’s best not to put your child on the spot. Therefore, it’s certainly worth putting in some practice at home. Try using the camera on your phone to make sure that your child is prepared for their picture. With any luck, this should also ease your child’s concern about how easy it is to take a passport photo.

Explain the importance

In some cases, you would be well-served to explain the importance of a passport photo to your child. Obviously you don’t want to go into too much detail about citizenship and borders. Instead, you could just simply tell your child that the picture will mean that they can get on the plane and enjoy a fantastic holiday. Hopefully this should act as an incentive for them to sit still and take the process seriously.

Offer a reward

The true reward will likely be a sun-soaked getaway where your child can frolic on the beach. But before then, you could always tell your offspring that they’ll receive a treat if they can sit nice and still for their passport photo.

Good luck!

These tricks should have you on your way to ensuring your child’s passport photo is suitable. In turn, this should mean their passport can be processed faster and with minimal delay.