My child is 5 weeks old and has (or will have) dual nationality. One of his passports has arrived but the British one hasn't yet. I'm having to travel and leave the UK for the time being. Is it legal for someone else to bring his British passport to me overseas when it arrives?

  • The passport will arrive by mail? the only issue is to deliver it and not picking it up? Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 17:26
  • Yes it will be mailed. The person bringing it over will be a family member.
    – Whispers
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 17:53
  • 1
    Purely FWIW, I can't see any problem with "someone carrying someone else's passports". Again purely FWIW, any number of times myself or other family members have carted around one or the other passport(s) of the kids, other family members, etc. It's an interesting question but really I can't see any problem at all.
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


You can apply for UK passports when living overseas, the guidance here says that the passport is couriered to you. This surely implies that a third-party may deliver a passport for someone.

While I understand your caution, I think you need to have some documentary reason to suspect that carrying a third-party passport is illegal before being too worried.

Within the USA there are explicit instructions for how a third-party may retrieve a passport from a government office, this includes the need for a letter of authorisation. Again the implication is clear, it is understood by the authorities in the USA have no intrinsic issue with a person carrying a passport for someone else.

Being a cautious sort, I would suggest that you provide such a covering letter to explain that the person carrying the letter is doing so at your request.


If you want legal advice - talk to a lawyer - but if you are really asking if the person gets caught, will they get in trouble (this is entirely different than is it legal or not) then the answer is Yes.

Generally speaking, carrying two passports (any two passports) that do not belong to the person is cause for major alarm by the authorities.

It does not matter who the passport is for (relative, friend, brother, etc.) because immediately the issue arises that some sort of fraud is taking place or the person is complicit in the same.

Carrying passports for someone else -- especially across international borders is highly discouraged. I do not know of any kind of "evidence" that can be provided to get out of any scrutiny that will arise if discovered with passports that do not belong to you.

It would be much simpler and safer to use a document courier service (like DHL) to send the passport over.

  • 3
    Do you have evidence of authorities taking this view? Indeed which authorities? Why would the courier for DHL not be subject to the same problem?
    – djna
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 20:36
  • Evidence? Sure. Just ask any passport control officer or immigration officer. They will tell you the same. I think you misunderstood me, when I say a document courier, I mean a service not a person. Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 20:44
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    Within some countries authorities do not object if I carry a passport for you. Indeed I can see explicit procedures for US government offices to allow me to collect someone else's passport. If I have that appropriate documentation from the office that allowed me to collect the passport are you sure that US officials at the border would cause hassle?
    – djna
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 20:54
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    @pnuts because I am not a lawyer; and further related to travel and crossing borders I am speaking from my own experience in this are. - djna there is a big difference between carrying a passport across international borders than carrying it within the country. Crossing international borders means the passport could be used to commit immigration fraud. Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 21:10
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    I can't believe this - especially in the very general terms in which it's written. I've traveled through immigration in the US, UK, Canada and Europe carrying passports for my children. The immigration officers know I have them - but it's not an issue for them. Not least because my children are both under 10 so it's pretty obvious I couldn't pretend to be them using their passports.
    – rhialto
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 21:23

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