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The Home Office Identity and Passport Service  ( )is the fount of all wisdom, and some of this we have extracted  below.

We are assuming  that at your mature age you have already held a passport,  and that most of your queries will be about renewal.     If not, and you are getting a passport for the first time, then be warned that  30 minute interviews may be required,  which means that the whole process is going to take 6 weeks or more.

For renewing  a passport,  the important point to remember is that you may not be able to travel abroad (other than the EC) if your passport is within 6 months of expiring.    You can apply for renewal as early as you wish, and up to 9 months will be credited to your new passport.    Allow 2 or 3 weeks for the process of renewing it,  and the fee is £72 per adult (£46 for a child).

You can make the application online  ( ) and it will be mailed to you for signature, or you can get an application form at the post office.   For an extra £7 you can use the Passport Office’s ‘Check and Send’ service which checks that you have filled in the form correctly and that your photograph is acceptable, and this may ensure that you get a new passport within 2 rather than 3 weeks.

For quicker results  there is a one week fast track service available for  £91 and a same day service for £108 but these  require you to attend by appointment  (call 0870 521 0410) at one of the Passport Offices which are in London, Liverpool, Peterborough, Belfast, Glasgow, Newport and Durham.   

If your passport is lost or stolen then report it to the Passport Office      (  ) and if stolen report it to the police.  If you are abroad report it to the police and the nearest UK embassy (see .

It’s a good idea to take a copy of your passport , and scan it into a secure  internet  account.