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What is the best way to renew my British passport from France?

We look at HM Passport Office processes applications coming from overseas

We look at how to renew a British passport from abroad Pic: Paul Maguire / Shutterstock

Reader Question: I live permanently in Paris with a British passport and a carte de séjour permanent. What is the simplest method of renewing my British passport, which is valid until May 2023?

You do not have to go to the UK to renew your passport. 

You can do it all from Paris via this UK government website for overseas applications.

It will tell you how to get a digital passport photo, which documents you need to provide and how to pay the £86 adult fee plus £19.86 courier fee. However, the UK government has announced that it plans to increase this fee to £94 from February.  

For the photo the best way is to pay a photographer a modest fee for a photo saved on a USB key, or emailed to you, as a .jpg file (this is usually a quick and relatively cheap solution if you call into a photoshop). 

Be sure to tell them it is for a British passport photo as the requirements are slightly different from the French ones.

It is also possible for you or someone else to take one on a phone or camera but there may be more risk of the photo not being considered acceptable.

Note that French photo booths will not be able to supply a suitable ephoto. 

Read more:  Do French passport booth codes work for online UK passport applications?

Once you have completed the application, you will be able to log into the platform to track its progress and will receive updates via text or email from the Passport Office.

It would be advisable to apply as soon as possible to avoid being left without a valid passport, even if your residency card would suffice in France as an identity document.

As a residency card holder you are not, however, subject to certain Schengen area passport rules that relate to non-EU visitors, at least as far as your travel to and from France is concerned. 

These rules state that, for example, British visitors coming into France for a short trip must have a passport issued less than 10 years ago and valid at least three months after the planned date of departure from the Schengen area. 

Were you to enter the Schengen area via another country after travel away you would also, as a residency card holder, be entitled to transit through to get to your home in France.

Related articles 

Residency, health, travel, money: Changes for French residents in 2023

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