Due to heightened security concerning British passports there is an extra person that has been included in the passport application procedure in order to provide an extra confirmation ensuring that the applicant is the exact same person who is applying for the passport and that person is called countersignatory. Let’s see why this role is important and what exactly his or her tasks are during the application process.
The key role of the countersignatory is to countersign the application form for the British passport and also to countersign photographs included with the application form.
Which exact application processes need a countersignatory included:
Application for the first adult passport
Application for first child passport
When a password is either lost, stolen or damaged
For the renewal of a passport for a child who is under 11 years of age
For the renewal of a passport for an adult who opts for a passport change due to change of name, gender or appearance ( confirming such a change that makes the person literally unrecogniseable when compared to their old passport photo)
It’s important to note that a countersignatory cannot be one of the below:
Any close relative, sibling or child of the applicant
This leads to the conclusion that the countersignatory should be either a not too close friend, an acquaintance, a neighbor or anyone with closer relations to the person who knows him or her for over two years and who is willing to confirm the identity of the applicant with his or her signature.
There are of course other conditions a countersignatory should suit:
They must preferably be a British citizen or an Irish citizen or hold a valid EU or US nationality and passport (British Commonwealth passport is also accepted). If they are from any other country than the UK or Ireland their confirmation and countersignature must also be supported by an additional photo of themselves confirming their exact identity. Other documents may be asked depending on the exact applicant and application
They must live in the UK
The countersignatory must check and confirm that all data provided on the application form is correct. They have the sign the form on the exact place which is held for the countersignatory to sign. With their signature the countersignatory legally commits himself or herself that they can confirm the applicant is really the person who they say they are and confirm with their signature that the information provided by them is true according to their best knowledge. The signature must be further supported by their own valid passport number too.
The countersignatory has to write a specific sentence on the back of each photo ( see gov.uk website for the exact sentence and/or call the British Passport Customer Services Number for further information) confirming the applicant’s identity and sign the photo.
It must be noted that government officials may contact the countersignatory if they have any further questions or suspicions for further questioning.