Step-by-Step Guide: How to Take a UK Passport Photo Online


You may wonder how to take a UK passport photo online as an expat. You can now submit your photo to the Home Office’s Witness Service — this way, you can have a passport or supporting document with your new hairstyle, beard, or even colourful makeup.

Guide to Taking Your UK Passport Photo Online

1) Visit the Witness Service website.

2) Click on the English language option at the top of their homepage.

3) A window will open with three options: Expatriate or UK citizen, or work for the Home Office.

4) If you choose the Expatriate option, a list of options will appear with passport photo requirements for your country. Choose which option you are applying for by selecting the expat box.

5) Once you select your country of residence, a list of options will appear along the right side. These options are the same for all countries, so you can scroll down to click on ‘UK citizen’ or ‘Work for the Home Office.’

6) Scroll down to find an option that says General Passport Photo. Click on it.

7) The screen will change and now ask you to upload your photo and provide additional personal details.

8) Start by clicking on the ‘upload my photo’ link and selecting either a private picture or a public one. The photo should be your photo passport style, such as a headshot, front view, side profile, or full-length photo.

9) Make sure your photo is in the right orientation. You can rotate it on your computer to get the best.

10) Once you choose the photo you want to use, you can add more personal details if you wish. You can add your occupation and sign the form electronically.

11) Review the details you have filled in, and click on ‘submit’ to send your passport photo to the Home Office via email. You will then get a confirmation email sent back to you that contains a form ID number.

12) If you do not want to include further information, skip this step. If you want more information, scroll down and fill in your extra details.

13) When you’re done, click on ‘submit’ again. You will receive another confirmation email.

14) Print out the witness service form in the confirmation email, and bring it to a passport photo centre of your choice.

15) At the photo centre, have your application ready, along with a passport photo and original document (passport or birth certificate). Note that this document only proves you are applying for a UK passport — no other documents are accepted as proof of identity or address. The document must be an original, valid, and undamaged.

16) The photo centre will take your photo and submit it electronically to the Home Office. You will receive a confirmation email that your passport photo has been accepted. Print it out for them to use with your application if you have an electronic ID.

17) Finally, the photo centre will give you a copy of your passport pic and keep the original for submission to the Home Office.

18) Give back the original passport photo to the photo centre.

19) You will now receive a passport application pack in the mail if your application has been approved. Keep it safe, as it is an important document.

20) Gather a passport photo, original document, and application pack and take them to the passport office.

21) Go to your local counter at a good time. You will need other originals or certified copies of documents to prove identity and proof of residence.

22) You will need to pay the fee in cash or by credit card, unless you apply for a child passport. Remember to keep your confirmation email safe, as it has an unique reference number you should use at the counter when paying.

23) You will get your passport within 3 weeks.

If you have questions or need more information, there are many FAQs on the Home Office’s site. Depending on your country, you can also take a passport photo at your local post office if you don’t have access to a photo centre. As always, we’re happy to help with any questions you have about your UK passport or expat life in general.


A UK passport is a highly valuable document that you need to protect. While most of the time, a passport is used for travelling outside the UK, in some cases, it can also be required while travelling within the country. That’s why you should always ensure that your passport has no errors and is always valid.

There are many ways to get an updated UK passport if you are an expat. The simplest way is to visit the nearest passport office, but at the same time, it does not guarantee that your application will be accepted. Even though the process is simple, make sure you understand every step.

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