I'm from the UK. I have a question regarding appearance change for a passport renewal. A UK government page says

You must get your paper form and one of your 2 print photos signed if you’re applying for ... a renewal of a passport if your appearance has changed and you cannot be recognised from your existing passport

Does this mean a countersignature will be required if my appearance has changed naturally? I'm quite concerned here, I am 18 and I had my passport counter signed when I was young, like 14 or 15. My appearance has changed (I haven't had surgeries) and I would say I'm fifty to fifty recognisable and unrecognisable compared to my old Picture.

So will I need a countersignature?

  • Your appearance change described by you does require a new passport. Please elaborate on what you mean by "countersignature." Do you see this in a UK.gov form? If so, what form? Dec 28, 2021 at 0:24
  • @DavidSupportsMonica yes this was a uk.gov form here's the link:: gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications it says that I will need a countersignature meaning a person to confirm my identity if I look unrecognisable, I'm wondering myself myself unrecognisable do they mean Because I've checked on some sites where they say this is only for people that have done Surgeries or are under 12 years old . My face Has changed but not Surgeries so I'm wondering..... Dec 28, 2021 at 0:37
  • This is an application for a "first adult passport," isn't it? I think the people who make the rules have already taken into account that people can change very significantly in appearance between the ages of, say, 14 or 15 and 18.
    – phoog
    Dec 28, 2021 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


The uk.gov page you cite says a countersignature is required "...if your appearance has changed and you cannot be recognised from your existing passport."

This is your application. You must examine the older and the newer photos and your current appearance, and make a decision about how to proceed:

  • If you think you're still recognizable as the same person as in your previous passport's photo, then submit the new photo without a countersignature.

  • On the other hand, if you think (or know) you might not be recognisable as the same person, then you should obtain a countersignature.

You might show the photos to someone you trust and ask their opinion. The safe choice is get a countersignature, but this is more trouble than not getting a countersignature. Having no countersignature, however, risks having your application rejected. You should consider how risk-tolerant or intolerant you are, and how quickly you need the passport...having your application rejected will require a reapplication, and increase the time before you have a new passport.

You're signing the application, and you must choose how to proceed.

EDIT 12-28-2021: As phoog correctly points out in comments, the UK page also states that a countersignature is required for an applicant's "first adult passport." Because the OP is now 18, this is their "first adult passport," and therefore for this application a countersignature is required.

  • 1
    The cited page also notes that a countersignature is required for a "first adult passport." The asker of the question is 18, so this must be a first adult passport. The signature is required, therefore.
    – phoog
    Dec 28, 2021 at 17:38
  • @phoog Good catch, thanks. I'll amend the answer. Dec 28, 2021 at 18:04

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