Do teachers have to countersign passports?


Do teachers have to countersign passports, and what can you do if you feel uncomfortable with countersigning?

As a teacher, you might be asked to countersign a passport from a parent.

GOV.UK explains some paper passport applications and photos must be signed by someone else (the ‘counter-signatory’) to prove the identity of the person applying.

A counter-signatory must be a ‘person of good standing in their community’ or work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession (with the profession of ‘teacher’ being included on the list).

In this support article, we explain if teachers are required to countersign passports, what to do if you want to refuse and link to further information. If you are an Edapt subscriber and you have any questions about countersigning passports you can contact us for further advice and support.

Do teachers have to countersign passports?

No, if you are requested to countersign a passport and you feel uncomfortable with doing so you can politely decline. 

You could ask the parent to get the headteacher or a governor to sign it or ask the parent to get another person on the recognised profession list to countersign. 

What the counter-signatory must do

GOV.UK explains after you’ve filled in the form, your counter-signatory must check the details are correct and sign it.

By signing it they are confirming that:

  • They’ve known you for more than 2 years
  • You’re who you claim to be
  • As far as they know, all the information you’ve put on the form is true

Your counter-signatory must put their passport number on the form.

Your counter-signatory should write the following on the back of one photo:

‘I certify that this is a true likeness of (title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport).

They must add their signature and the date under the statement.

You do not have to sign or date the photos yourself.

What the counter-signatory can expect?

Your counter-signatory may be contacted by HM Passport Office for more information. Your application may be delayed if they’re not available, for example they’re on holiday.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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