My mother has an expired UK Passport and has been living in Australia as an Australian citizen for the last 30 plus years. She has now been diagnosed with a form of dementia, and as her only next of kin (daughter living in UK) I am investigating bringing her back to the UK to live. I know she has an up to date Australian passport as she visited me last summer.

My question is, it looks like her old "British passport" expired back in 1988. She was born in England.

If I travel to Australia and try to bring her back to the UK, do I bring her back on her "Australian passport". Should she be "applying" from Australia to be allowed to come back and live in England. I know when I applied for my visa to visit my Mum last week, I had to apply for a visa to visit which allowed me to stay for up to 3 months.

Would my Mum have to apply to England for a Visa even if she has an expired UK passport? I will have difficulties with her signing stuff as at the moment she would be deemed by doctors as lacking capacity. All I want is to bring my Mum home but I don't know how difficult it will be. I have tried 3 times in last week to get an answer on the Gov.UK immigration department number but nobody can give a definitive answer.

  • 3
    Why not just get her a new British passport? May 29, 2019 at 18:04
  • 2
    Applying for a new passport might bring up this issue of capacity to sign. A power of attorney might resolve that, and is probably appropriate in any case, but that's a question for a lawyer.
    – user90371
    May 29, 2019 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


Your mother cannot and does not need to apply for a UK visa because she is a British citizen. British citizens cannot be denied entry to the UK. Proving British citizenship does not require a current, valid passport. An expired British is acceptable evidence that she is British.

However, airlines require proof of entitlement to enter a country before they will let you board. In general, you might have difficulty persuading them to let your mother on the plane with only an expired British passport. Fortunately, she has a valid Australian passport. Australians are allowed to travel to the UK without a visa, so when boarding the plane, she should show the staff her Australian passport. At the UK border, she should show both her Australian passport and her British passport. It sounds like you will be travelling back with her, so you should go up to the border officer together, and you can help explain the situation.

  • The airline might insist on return tickets in this scenario, though. May 30, 2019 at 16:42
  • @MichaelHampton Why? That's not a requirement to enter the UK.
    – MJeffryes
    May 30, 2019 at 16:52
  • Because in this scenario the person will be traveling on an Australian passport. The airline won't care at all and will give no credence to an expired British passport issued 40 years ago and expired 30 years ago. May 30, 2019 at 16:54
  • @MichaelHampton Yes I know. So I'm asking why they would want to see return tickets. Holding return tickets is not a requirement for Australian citizens to enter the UK.
    – MJeffryes
    May 30, 2019 at 16:54
  • 1
    @MichaelHampton If the airline decides to invent this requirement, OP can book a coach ticket from Dover to Calais at the gate or something.
    – MJeffryes
    May 30, 2019 at 17:02

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