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SPAIN AND THE UK

How long does it take to get or renew a UK passport from Spain?

What happens when you need to renew your UK passport from Spain? How do you do it and how long does it take?

How long does it take to get or renew a UK passport from Spain?
How to renew your UK passport from Spain. Photo: Ethan Wilkinson / Pexels

It may seem like a daunting task to renew your UK passport from abroad, but actually, it’s a very simple process. If you’re an adult your UK passport will typically be valid for 10 years, after which time you’ll need to renew it. 

The best way to renew your UK passport from Spain is to do it online via the UK government website. Remember that some countries require you to have six months of validity left on your passport to be able to visit, so you’ll want to apply for your renewal at least six months or more before it expires.

You will need to click on this link and then make sure to follow the steps.

The first step will be to answer some simple questions, like where you’re applying from and fill out your date of birth.

READ ALSO: How to apply for or renew your US passport from Spain

Get a digital photograph

You’ll need to go to a photo shop or booth that provides photo codes that can be used in UK passport applications. This may be difficult in Spain so your best option is to take your own digital photo at home with your camera or phone.

If taking your own photo, you’ll be provided with several rules you’ll need to stick to, plus a short video that shows you how. Your photo will go through a basic technical check, so you’ll know right away if it’s accepted or not. You can always upload another one if it’s not.

Fill out your application 

Next, you will need to fill out all your application and personal details, such as the number and place of issue of your old passport and your address. If you’re applying for someone else, such as your child, you can also do it the same way, just fill it out using their details instead.

Gather your documents to send through the post

Thirdly, you’ll have to send some documents through the post. You’ll be told exactly what you need depending on your application, but it will typically be your old passport. Remember that you can’t travel anywhere while your passport is being renewed because you won’t have your old one. If it’s urgent, you will have to get an emergency passport document instead.

Pay your passport fees

A standard passport is £86 for an adult, and £56 for a child. Plus, a £19.86 courier fee. You should be able to pay for this online.

If necessary, get someone to confirm your identity

If some details have changed since your last renewal such as your name, you may have to get someone to confirm your identity, but you will be told online if this is the case for you. They can confirm your identity online without a printed photo.

What if I am applying for my passport for the first time?

If you’re applying for your UK passport from Spain for the first time and not just renewing it then the process is similar.

You’ll still go through the online processes mentioned above, however, you may need a passport interview. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to return to the UK for this, it will be an online video interview, where you’ll be asked questions to be able to confirm your identity.  

How long does it take?

According to the UK authorities, the current passport processing time to renew your passport is around four weeks, but this does change depending on the time of year. For example, if you’re applying before a busy travel period, such as just before the summer or just before the Christmas holidays, it’s likely that your application will take a bit longer because of the sheer number of other passport renewal applications.

If you are applying for the first time, it may also take slightly longer, depending on when you and the authorities have time for your passport interview. You will be told if you need an interview and will have to phone up to make an appointment, so the quicker you make the call, the quicker you will be assigned a day.

What if it’s taking too long, how can I track my application?

You will be able to track your application online with a code that you’ll be given when you apply. You will also get updates by email or text messages so you know where your passport is in the process and how much longer it’s likely to take.

You will also be able to check if something is holding your application up and if you need to send any more documents.

Member comments

  1. You know that there are a lot of other nationalities that read the local.es as well right? 🙂 not only british people

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For members

TRAVEL NEWS

REVEALED: Countries fear non-EU travellers face delays under new EES border checks

A number of countries in Europe's Schengen area admit they fear delays and insufficient time to test the process ahead of new, more rigorous EU border checks that will be introduced next year, a new document reveals.

REVEALED: Countries fear non-EU travellers face delays under new EES border checks

Schengen countries are tightening up security at the external borders with the introduction of a new digital system (EES) to record the entry and exit of non-EU citizens in May 2023.

The EES will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. It will register the person’s name, type of the travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit. The data will be kept in a centralised database on a rolling three-year basis that is re-set at each entry. 

What the EES is intended to do is increase border security, including the enforcement of the 90-day short-stay limit for tourists and visitors.

EU citizens and third-country nationals who reside in a country of the Schengen area will not be subject to such checks as long as they can prove residency in an EU country however they will still be caught up in any delays at passport control if the new system as many fear, causes longer processing times.

READ ALSO: Foreigners living in EU not covered by new EES border checks

But given its scale, the entry into operation of the system has been raising concerns on many fronts, including the readiness of the physical and digital infrastructure, and the time required for border checks, which could subsequently cause massive queues at borders.

A document on the state of preparations was distributed last week by the secretariat of the EU Council (the EU institution representing member states) and published by Statewatch, a non-profit organisation that monitors civil liberties.

The paper contains the responses from 21 countries to a questionnaire about potential impacts on passenger flows, the infrastructure put in place and the possibility of a gradual introduction of the new system over a number of months.

This is what certain the countries have responded. Responses from Denmark, Spain and Sweden do not appear in the report but the answers from other countries will be relevant for readers in those countries.

READ ALSO: What the EU’s new EES border check system means for travel

‘Double processing time’

Austria and Germany are the most vocal in warning that passport processing times will increase when the EES will become operational.

“The additional tasks resulting from the EES regulation will lead to a sharp increase in process times”, which are expected to “double compared to the current situation,” Austrian authorities say. “This will also affect the waiting times at border crossing points (in Austria, the six international airports),” the document continues.

“Furthermore, border control will become more complicated since in addition to the distinction between visa-exempt and visa-required persons, we will also have to differentiate between EES-required and EES-exempt TCN [third country nationals], as well as between registered and unregistered TCN in EES,” Austrian officials note.

Based on an analysis of passenger traffic carried out with the aviation industry, German authorities estimate that checking times will “increase significantly”.

France expects to be ready for the introduction of the EES “in terms of passenger routes, training and national systems,” but admits that “fluidity remains a concern” and “discussions are continuing… to make progress on this point”.

Italy is also “adapting the border operational processes… in order to contain the increased process time and ensure both safety and security”.

“Despite many arguments for the introduction of automated border control systems based on the need for efficiency, the document makes clear that the EES will substantially increase border crossing times,” Statewatch argues.

‘Stable service unlikely by May 2023’

The border infrastructure is also being adapted for collecting and recording the data, with several countries planning for automated checks. So what will change in practice?

France will set up self-service kiosks in airports, where third-country nationals can pre-register their biometric data and personal information before being directed to the booth for verification with the border guard. The same approach will be adopted for visitors arriving by bus, while tablet devices such as iPads will be used for the registration of car passengers at land and sea borders.

Germany also plans to install self-service kiosks at the airports to “pre-capture” biometric data before border checks. But given the little time for testing the full process, German authorities say “a stable working EES system seems to be unlikely in May 2023.”

Austria intends to install self-service kiosks at the airports of Vienna and Salzburg “in the course of 2023”. Later these will be linked to existing e-gates enabling a “fully automated border crossing”. Austrian authorities also explain that airport operators are seeking to provide more space for kiosks and queues, but works will not be completed before the system is operational.

Italy is increasing the “equipment of automated gates in all the main  airport” and plans to install, at least in the first EES phase, about 600 self-service kiosks at the airports of Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Venice and in those with “significant volumes of extra-Schengen traffic,” such as Bergamo, Naples, Bologna and Turin.

Switzerland, which is not an EU member but is part of the Schengen area, is also installing self-service kiosks to facilitate the collection of data. Norway, instead, will have “automated camera solutions operated by the border guards”, but will consider self-service options only after the EES is in operation.

Gradual introduction?

One of the possibilities still in consideration is the gradual introduction of the new system. The European Commission has proposed a ‘progressive approach’ that would allow the creation of “incomplete” passenger files for 9 months following the EES entry into operation, and continuing passport stamping for 3 months.

According to the responses, Italy is the only country favourable to this option. For Austria and France this “could result in more confusion for border guards and travellers”. French officials also argue that a lack of biometric data will “present a risk for the security of the Schengen area”.

France suggested to mitigate with “flexibility” the EES impacts in the first months of its entry into service. In particular, France calls for the possibility to not create EES files for third-country nationals who entered the Schengen area before the system becomes operational, leaving this task to when they return later.

This would “significantly ease the pressure” on border guards “during the first three months after entry into service,” French authorities said.

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