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How to renew your British passport in Thailand

6 Nov 2020

Most British Passports last 10 years maximum, it seems like a long time but over here in Asia they like to give you lots of stamps to fill up all the pages of your passport very quickly. Especially if you like traveling around, you’ll find that your passport gets full sooner than the ten years in which it officially expires. On the other hand, you might stay still for ten years and it expires normally. In any case, you will find yourself needing to renew your British Passport.

Can you do this without leaving Thailand? 
Yes, you can.

Here’s how

There are 2 options. You can either make a trip to Bangkok yourself and apply (you will need to go twice), OR you can use an agent who will do it on your behalf, meaning you can stay put.

Both options have benefits. It may be a good excuse to take a trip away from the island to the big city if you’re getting the island fever. Using an agent means if you are busy, have business or family, and don’t want to travel to Bangkok you can stay where you are, their fees are roughly about the same price you would spend on the travel anyway (in our experience).

When applying to renew your British Passport from overseas you cannot apply online.

Applying in person

You will need to get all of the forms to fill out, you can do this on the Passport Website. You’ll need passport photos which you can get here and also someone to sign the form and sign your photos to prove they are a true likeness, this can be a friend with a British Passport.
Once you have everything ready you can then make your way to Bangkok but it might be worth making an appointment with the British Consulate first.
Once you have handed in your papers and paid they will then send this to the UK. You can now enjoy Bangkok or go back and wait. Passport renewals take on average about 4 weeks.
They will let you know when your passport is ready for collection and then you can go to Bangkok again to collect your new one.

Using an Agent

The agent should send you all the documents you need to fill out with instructions. This includes writing a brief cover letter stating they can go on your behalf. In the documents, there is a payment form where you fill out your card details to pay for the passport. You pay the agent separately for their service.
Then you send everything to the agent (usually based in Bangkok) and they go to the office and apply for you. It’s very very easy, you just get on with your life whilst being kept in touch through the agent and also the passport office by email. Once you have received the email saying your passport is ready you tell the agent and they go collect it for you and send it back to you!

Phanganist recommends Mark Jacob's Sending Machine if you wish to use someone to apply on your behalf and not have to travel to Bangkok. We asked him a few more questions to help you.

What happens if stolen or lost passport? Is it a different process?
It's the same process for a lost/stolen passport but you have to fill in an LSO1 form (Lost/stolen form) also. 
If you do get a police report (if stolen) then bear in mind that you will have to get the police report translated into English so the UK passport office can read it. 

Are there other services you do besides renewing or new passports?
I started up as a saucing items business but then along came more and more ways to order online in Thailand so I mainly deal with the UK passports now. 

Any important information?
Some important information is that if applying from Thailand then you need some sort of proof of address/residency here. 
And also if you're using a 3rd party to submit your documents then you need a counter signature because you're not the one handing it in. 
On the GOV.UK website it says you don't need a counter signature if you still look the same as the last photo but like I said if you're not the one handing it in then you do.