Change Photo on Passport With This Incredibly Easy Two-Step Guide

update your shot to avoid trouble with customs officers when you travel abroad

Sometimes, you just grow tired of things—for instance, of the shot on your travel credentials taken years ago. If you were trying to make a statement at the time, you may well cringe at your current passport picture today. It’s totally okay, though.

But is it okay for His Majesty’s Passport Office if you decide to change your UK passport photo before the document expires? Is it even possible? If so, can you do it without a legitimate reason (i.e. just because you want to)?


Does HMPO Allow to Change Passport Photo?

Yes, they do, and you don’t even need good-enough grounds to do that! In other words, you can go on and change your photo for any reason:

  • You might be tired of your outfit and/or hairstyle in the existing passport photo

  • You look and dress the same but you don’t like your current facial expression

  • You look more or less the same as then but get frowns at ID checkpoints anyway

It’s worth noting that in some cases renewal will be obligatory. For instance, you have to change your UK passport photo if your overall appearance or facial features change to a drastic point where you’re hardly recognisable.

For example, those who recently lost weight or underwent gender transition are most likely obliged to renew.

existing passport photo

Whatever the reason, you are free to submit your application anytime you want. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Change of Passport Photograph = Complete Renewal

That’s right—for better or worse, you aren’t allowed to replace your picture only. HMPO cannot just cut the old image out of your passport and insert the new one, so the only way to update your photo is to apply for a passport renewal. That is, have it made from scratch.

using passport services

Your travel credentials are valid for 10 years—if you apply for a renewal before the expiry date, you won’t be able to transfer the remaining validity time.

Whatever the reason (changing your headshot or something else), the passport renewal process remains unchanged: you take a new shot, fill in your passport application form and submit it at a post office or online.

Changing Passport Photo in Two Steps

If you already have travel credentials, there shouldn’t be any surprises when getting new ones. Still, let’s break the process down:

Step 1. Take a New Passport Photo

We guess that if you want to replace your current shot, there’s something in it you don’t like—so don’t rush it with your new passport picture.

Take your time and study the rules for appearance, background, hair, face expression and so on. Also, consider what hairstyle and outfit will work best for you—in passport photos, they can change everything.

dress up

Once you’ve figured out the looks, take your new picture. Before you opt for the old-fashioned options (like photo machines and studios), consider taking your new passport photo yourself at home. Thus you’ll have more than enough time to take multiple pictures and then pick the best one to become your perfect passport photo.

Step 2. Submit Your Passport Application

Once again, you’ll have two options: the old-fashioned and the modern one:

  • If you prefer the tried-and-true methods, you’ll need to visit a participating post office and get a paper application form. Take it home to fill in.

If you’re replacing your existing passport photo because your appearance has changed significantly, you’ll need a countersignatory to fill one of the sections.

Then put the paper form in an envelope with your new passport photos printed out and send the envelope to HMPO by post. Such a renewal will cost you £85.

If you want to be 100% sure your passport photo and the application will be approved, there’s the Check and Send service: for £16, a post office employee will check the paper form and your photos to make sure you’re all good.

  • As an alternative, you can go digital and apply for a renewal at the official government website—the online version of the passport application blank includes the same fields. When going online, you won’t need any printouts. The HMPO website has a page where an applicant can upload a digital passport photo. The cost of applying online is £75.50.

using PC

As you see, changing your existing passport photo is no different from the usual procedure. Still, there’s one more thing: a life hack to save you time and money.

Change Your Old Passport Photo Faster With PhotoBooth Online

If done as usual, the whole process may take a lot of your spare time, especially when it comes to taking a new photo. For example, you’ll have to search for a local studio or a store that has a booth and then spend even more time on a visit to the place.

Here’s a quick and money-efficient alternative: use our service to get a new UK passport photo online! Simply upload a usual digital photo to our website and we’ll process it into a compliant picture in less than a minute for FREE!

taking digital photos

Frequently Asked Questions

How to change passport photo?

You can’t change the picture alone—the whole travel credentials will have to be changed as well. All in all, the procedure is the same as with the usual application for passport renewal: you prepare a photo, then fill in a blank and send it to HMPO.

How often do you have to change your passport photo?

HMPO doesn’t require you to do that, as there’s no specific period for which your photograph is valid. However, each new passport has to have a new picture, even if your looks haven’t changed. So, the only time you have to change your photo is when you renew the document itself (which is valid for 10 years).

How long does it take to change passport photo?

If you want to exactly renew, not get a new one, the procedure should take no more than three weeks. As for first-time applicants, their documents are usually prepared within six weeks.

How much to change passport photo?

The pricing is exactly the same as with the usual passport renewals. If you choose to apply by post, it will cost you £85. As for online submission, it’s available for a slightly lower price of £75.50.

Do I need to send new photos when changing name on passport?

Yes, you do. Such a change can be made only by sending a usual application form to HMPO, so the same rules apply. This means you need to provide a new photo as well.