How do I renew my UK passport in France? Do I need an appointment?

Many may need to renew their passports to make sure they are valid for travel in the EU

Britons living abroad must renew their passports from abroad, if they expire.

Reader Question: I am worried about the EU’s 10-year rule for passports affecting me and I want to renew mine. However I am currently in France, and I do not want to send it via the postal service. Is there an alternative?

You mention the 10-year rule for non-EU passport holders, which has been affecting some holidaymakers. 

This only affects those trying to enter the Schengen area who have passports issued more than 10 years ago, but which are still date valid. 

If your passport is not close to expiring, this is not yet an issue for you.

As a reminder, you should renew your passport when it is coming up to ten years after the issue date should you have a passport which is valid for longer than 10 years. 

Read more: Britons told to check passports as more people denied travel to EU

If you want to renew your passport the only current option if you are abroad is to do so online.

UK passport renewals can no longer be undertaken via a British embassy or consulate. 

The link to apply can be found here.

Whilst there are some different options when applying (such as whether to take a photo with your phone, or use a digital code from a professional photographer / camera booth), once your application is finished you must return your current passport to the UK. 

The process of printing and issuing a new passport will not be undertaken until your old passport is received. 

Read more: Why did it cost €239 to renew my British passport from France?

Can I track my passport when sending it to the UK?

To feel safer sending your passport you can use the La Poste recorded delivery (Lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception) service. 

This will allow you to track the passport until it arrives at its destination, at which point the Passport Office will inform you it has been received as part of its series of updates about the progress of your package. 

You can choose this service both at a self-service checkout and at a staffed counter.

If you use the service you can track the package online using the code given to you. 

A Connexion team member recently renewed their passport from France, and used this service. It cost €13.10 to send and track the delivery.

Read more: How to send a registered letter online from home in France

Are there any alternatives? 

Unfortunately, the only other alternative is to return to the UK and complete the application there. 

Passport renewal times vary, with the official passport website saying it currently takes three weeks, but some have reported in 2023 waiting for up to ten weeks to renew their passport. 

If you live full-time in France, and work here, it may not be an option to return to the UK for this period. 

In addition, even when applying for a passport from the UK, you are usually still required to post your old passport to the Passport Office, whether you apply with a paper form or online.

The only way you may be able to hand your passport over in person is using one of the ‘fast-track’ appointment slots, although this is not always guaranteed and comes with an increased cost. 

Read more: Do UK pensioners in France now have to use digital life certificates?