In the past, it has been extremely easy for British nationals who moved to New Zealand to renew their passports while in New Zealand. The process involved a domestic British passport renewal office actually based in the country. All that you had to do was gather your documents, fill in your passport forms and prepare your payment and pictures, then either present them in person or via mail to the New Zealand passport processing center.
For some reason, the British government has closed this processing center in Wellington and now only accepts renewals mailed directly to the United Kingdom for processing. This could pose a significant change in terms of the amount of time it will now take you to get your British passport renewed compared to previously, particularly if you miss a document or send in incorrect passport photo sizes. Read on to learn what is now involved in obtaining a renewed British passport while living in New Zealand.
The Procedure For British Passport Renewal in New Zealand Effectively Changed on January 13, 2019
As of the 13th of January, 2019, the procedure changed on how you renew your British passport while visiting or living in New Zealand. The processing center in Wellington is now closed. From that date on, you have to dispatch all of your applications straight to Her Majesty’s UK Passport Office in Liverpool.
The new procedures are made somewhat easier by the convenience of applying online. As an applicant, you can do the passport application form online and also make the payment on this site. Applicants then must print out as well as sign the declaration sheet. You have to send this in with your necessary supporting documentation and the appropriately sized photographs to the Liverpool-based Application Processing Center in the United Kingdom.
This means that the steps to applying for a British passport renewal from New Zealand are now as follows:
- Step One – Begin your application at the website www.gov.uk. Clicking on this link will open it online in another new window
- Step Two – Get your British passport photos taken in a Post Shop which offers ID Photos and Passport pictures
- Step Three – Package up your documents and bring them down to your area Post Shop to send them to Liverpool, England
When you finish the online application, New Zealand can still assist you in having confidence that your supporting application makes it to the United Kingdom. They offer tracking mail services all the way until it is collected with a signature at delivery in Liverpool.
Vicki Treadell the British High Commissioner says that this will not significantly increase the current processing times for passports, but that they will remain the same. When you are renewing your British passport you need to allow a solid four weeks from the day you pay the fee and the Liverpool office receives all of the necessary and correct documentation. This is why she cautions against leaving this task for the last minute. If you are making a first time passport application instead, or you are replacing a stolen or lost one, then you need to increase your wait time to a minimum of fully six weeks, per Vicki Treadell.
A Word of Warning on Passport Photo Sizes
All applicants need to take special care that their passport photos measure up to the standards of the United kingdom as outlined on the British government’s website. If you do not do this, the processing center will require that you send in new photographs. This will significantly delay your application with additional mailing time. The proper size for British passport photos is 45 millimetres (mm) high by 35mm wide. This photo must have been taken within the last month to be valid for use.
The Importance of Using Registered Post
The British High Commission recommends that you send in these applications utilizing a secure form of mailing. This means either a courier or registered post. New Zealand Post still offers its international courier service that is fully trackable for submitting these passport applications to the United Kingdom.
Applicants may also utilize competing companies as they wish. It is important to note that the supporting documents and new British passport will all be returned to applicants in separate packages. DHL will dispatch them to the address that you provide in your application.
Remember that applying for a British passport renewal now starts with applying online at www.gov.uk. You still have to mail in all crucial supporting documents, your signed declaration, and your correctly sized photos to Her Majesty’s Liverpool-based Passport Office in the United Kingdom. Should you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Passport Advice Line of the British High Commission at +44 300 222 0000 or email them at overseasNewportCCC@hmpo.gsi.gov.uk.
I’m Jenny and I whilst I love being an expat in Auckland I could not find any reliable advice or guides online from someone who had actually made the move to New Zealand. So I decided to create this blog which offers free advice for expats by an expat. Hopefully you will find everything you’re looking for (and what I wish I knew before) here but if you can’t please do contact us.