The United Kingdom is still part of the EU, so for the time being ID cards are enough for Europeans and French nationals to visit. However, if you plan on staying in London for a while, we advise you to have a passport to be prepared for any eventuality, and if you do not know how to do so, don’t panic.
There are two scenarios: those who have to renew their passport and those who are applying for the first time. In both cases you will have to go to a town hall that is equipped to work with biometric passports. To find out which town hall has the equipment, check here. Just know that the procedure does not require you to go to the town hall where your live, so you can make the application from anywhere.
Your passport is too old, the date has expired, the photo was taken when you were 5 years old? In this case it’s up for renewal. You can pre-apply online, which will speed up the procedure.
In either case, you will have to go to the city hall in person so that you can give your fingerprints and check your documents. While we’re talking about those, what are they? This is where it gets a little complicated, it depends on whether you apply while your passport is valid or if it has expired and for how long. Basically, if your passport is valid, you take it with a photocopy, an ID photo, your pre-application number if you have carried out the procedure online (otherwise you will fill in the papers while there), a proof of residence with a photocopy, and saving the best for last, €86 in tax stamps that can be bought online. See here if your passport is expired.
As far as delivery times are concerned, they are not fixed and may increase during peak periods (approaching summer holidays, for example…). If you are doing this at the last minute, an emergency procedure can deliver it within a few days. In any case, you will be informed by SMS or telephone of its availability. It can be collected in person at the town hall where the request was made within 3 months, and will be valid for 10 years.
That’s it for passport applications. All the necessary information is here, but we are not immune to oversight so if you have a question or a tip that we have missed, please leave us a comment.