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.

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