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Getting your first passport is a rite of passage, and something most of us do as a child when our parents apply for a passport on our behalf. But if you’ve never had the chance to apply for a passport as a child then getting your first adult passport is quite a different process. Most people apply for a passport in order to travel overseas, but that’s not the only reason. A passport is one of the most widely accepted and trusted forms of identification. A valid passport doesn’t just prove your name and date of birth but your nationality too. If you’ve never had a passport before, you’ll be called for a face to face interview as part of the process.

Making the Appointment

After you’ve sent off your application for your passport, you will be invited to make an appointment for your interview. You have a fair degree of flexibility over when and where you attend and can choose the office most convenient for home or work. If you live in a very remote area, there might be alternative options for an interview closer to home. You can’t book your appointment online, so you’ll have to give the passport office a ring and try to book a slot which suits you.

What Will I Be Asked?

The staff at the passport office are interested in working out if the person in front of them is the person who has filled out the form. They will therefore ask some seemingly random questions to establish your identity. Questions vary; there’s not a standard list of questions which all applicants will be asked as this defeats the purpose of an interview. Applicants might be asked where they were born, the full names and birthdays of their parents, who else lives at their address, or how many siblings they have. As well as the basics, some of the questions are things which are less fact based. Applicants might be asked to describe the route they’d walk from their house to the nearest station or bus stop. Or to describe the house they live in- how many bedrooms, detached or semi-detached, what can they see from the window? All things which are very easy to answer if you’re genuine, but which will stump a fraudulent applicant. You may also be asked about the person who has countersigned your application to make sure you really know them.

Getting Your Passport

The team which conducts the interviews isn’t the same team as produces the passports. They will just record on the system whether you passed the vetting process or not. The standard turnaround time for a passport after interview is just a few days, but issuing a new passport can take longer, especially in the spring at the busy holiday booking period. The good news is that children under 16 don’t require an interview if their parent is applying for their first passport, and when your first passport runs out you can apply for a renewal rather than going through the interview again.