Getting a New UK Passport in Bangkok Thailand, British Passport Renewal

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This is how we renewed a UK passport in Bangkok. British passport renewal in Thailand.

Our younger son’s UK passport was down to less than 6 months and we had absolutely no desire to head back to the UK to get it renewed. We were in Vietnam and about to travel to Malaysia so it had to be done on this side of the world and in the quickest way possible.

Getting a new UK passport in Bangkok Thailand

For a child, overseas passport renewal looks even more troublesome than for adults, particularly for kids under 11, but we did it, we have his new UK passport and these are the hoops we had to jump through.

We were able to enter Thailand with less than 6 months remaining on this passport, but getting into Malaysia was a lot harder, we needed special permission. Information on passport renewal in Thailand.

Renewing a UK Passport in Bangkok

Travelling to Thailand With Less Than 6 Months Remaining on a Passport

This was actually fine, Thailand doesn’t refuse entry to passport holders with less than 6 months remaining. We had no difficulty flying into Bangkok at all.

We did have problems flying from Vietnam to Malaysia, Malaysia still has this 6 month passport validity rule but the Air Asia representative in Danang was able to ring Kuala Lumpur and get us permission to fly.

As we had onward flights booked they were fine with letting us in.

Proof of Address

This is easy for expats with addresses, bank statements or utility bills, but we’re travellers and just passing through.

Our way round this was to ask for a printed bill or receipt from our Bankok hotel with their address and logo clearly shown. This must be in English.

We generally use Shanti Lodge in Bangkok and as the owner is a native English speaker, this was pretty easy to do. Our printed hotel receipt was accepted in the Bangkok office and in the UK.

Getting Passport Photos Counter Signed and Authorised

This was hard! This area is somewhat ambiguous and some may choose not to complete this part of the form. There is a vague ruling about photos not needing to be countersigned if the two images are pretty similar and easy to identify as the same person.

For children under 11 it seems to be compulsory. Our son was 11.

We put a call out for anyone in Bangkok with a UK passport, European, or American who could identify me or my son, thinking that there MUST be someone in town who knew us from our websites at the very least. Nobody came forward.

The only person we knew in Bangkok was an American friend, a US passport holder and certainly not a doctor, lawyer, or any one of those reputable professions that passport offices generally like.

She signed off the photo, filled in the form and gave us a colour photocopy of her passport. It worked, our paperwork was approved.

Photocopies of All Current Passports Must be Colour

After we’d photocopied every page of 2 passports, UK and Australian, in black and white, we received a second email from HM passport office telling us they needed to be in colour. Great.

In Bangkok you’ll find small shops with photocopiers on almost every street, it cost us about $10 for both passports, 10 Baht per sheet. Even blank pages must be photocopied and submitted.

Getting An Appointment at the Trendy Building with VFS Global

The only way we could make an appointment was to email directly to We needed to provide 3 different dates/times when we were available between 8am and 4pm Monday to Saturday along with our first and last names. 

VFS Global won’t answer any questions or enter into correspondence. They sent back an email with an attachment that has the appointment time. Print that letter and take it with you or be able to access it on your phone in the lobby as it is your proof or permission to enter the Trendy Building.

The Appointment at the Trendy Building

The Trendy Building is in Sukhumvit on a side road, near Bangkok’s big shopping malls. We got there by taxi and it cost us roughly 100 Baht from Shanti Lodge.

We arrived 15 minutes earlier than our scheduled time. They advise to arrive early but not more than 15 minutes. Upon entering the building  go to the VFS desk to the left to get confirmation of appointment.

The lady gave us a slip of paper to take to the lift. The passport office VFS  is located on the 28th floor, there was a very organised queue for the lift. On arrival at the passport office the paper is checked and swapped just after security. We didn’t even get a chance to wait and were seen immediately.

The officer will take all of your documentation and check that it is  in order. Photos, proof of address, photocopies of passport, payment form and the application. Once they are satisfied it is placed into a DHL bag and you are given a receipt which has your email and local phone number on it.

They use this phone number to contact you when the passport is ready so make sure they are accurate and if possible have a local Thai number not a UK number. The whole process took no more than 10 minutes and we were on our way with the reciept and the old passport for identification purposes.

The old passport will be cancelled  at some point in future, it was not visibly cancelled or clipped at the VFS office.

You need both the old passport and receipt to pick up the new passport. If you are getting a new child’s passport then a parent will also need their passport to pick it up.

How Long Does it Take to Renew a British Passport in Bangkok?

The time given for our renewal was 3-4 weeks from when HMPO in the UK receives the application. As the paperwork is couriered to the UK it will arrive within days. You can’t check online in the same way that the UK applications allow but you can see when they take the money which correlates with them receiving the application. 3 days after they processed the charge I had a notification from DHL to state that my package (passport) would be delivered to the Trendy Building within 3 days.

If this is the case then from lodging the application in Bangkok to receiving the new passport would in fact be under 2 weeks. Of course each application would be different and ours was a simple renewal and the new photo wasn’t vastly different from the passport.

Sometimes the UK passport office gives much longer waiting times due to backlogs, 8 weeks has been quoted to us in 2022.

So that’s our experience with renewing a UK passport overseas. We chose Bangkok rather than Vietnam because it seemed renewal times were slightly shorter and in Vietnam visitors must carry their passport at all times, we weren’t sure if the passport office in Hanoi or Saigon would take the old passport away or not.

It was very difficult to find accurate information on the renewal process online, even the UK government official website seemed to give conflicting information with regard to proof of address and passport photograph approval but in the end we managed to tick all their boxes and our new child’s passport should be waiting for us in Bangkok right now. For more information on travel in Thailand see our Thailand travel guide page.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

15 thoughts on “Getting a New UK Passport in Bangkok Thailand, British Passport Renewal”

  1. On the application form it says you can put an alternate address in section 8 to get delivered there. Didn’t you do that? UK is the permanent address so would make sense to put that as the first address with proof (which is easier), should still be able to get delivered to a Thai address right?

    • No idea sorry, didn’t see it or decided against it, or they’ve changed it. We wouldn’t have had proof of a UK address with us anyway. What do they need as proof? We would have only had passports.

  2. Hi Alyson,

    Found your post as a tourist wanting to renew my passport here in Bangkok. Great read. Thanks.

    I am wondering did you have to do anything after picking up the new passport. Since the visa exemption immigration stamp is in the old passport, did you simply exit the country by presenting both passports? Or did you have to transfer the tourist visa stamp to the new passport at some other office first?

    Thanks in advance.

    • If it’s not in the post I can’t remember sorry

  3. Dear Alyson,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to write the report. It will be very useful for my son who is renewing his UK passport in Bangkok.

    You went to a lot of trouble to write it. Many people will benefit from it. Thank you very much!

    I wish you good health, happiness, and abundance!

    My warmest regards,


  4. Thanks for the helpful writeup. I’m about to follow the process you have described for my child. A question – does the child need to be present for the appointment?

  5. Renewing my 17 year old daughter’s passport… It’s been almost 4 weeks now and no signs of a passport.

    At the crowded meeting in trendy we were missing the translation of her ID card as proof of address (frankly this is a waste of time and money) we left the documents with the lady while we went down for a rip off translation. When we returned the lady at the VSF office had by mistake given my daughter’s old passport back to the next customer. Big bloody mess as you can immagine trying to recover it but it was eventually recovered. Anyhow we are still wanting for the new passport.
    It turns out that VSF is private company contracted by the home office so has no real governmental responsibility, You get pissed it just bounces off the walls.
    Frankly British passports are exceedingly expensive the procedure to even just renew one is complicated beyond need and in our case the service we got was also rubbish.
    The more time that passes the more complicated simple things becomes

  6. hello, just about to renew my passport in Thailand.
    I was wondering if you know where I could get u.k passport photos taken, as the requirements are very strict.

    thank you

    • Luckily we’re not yet been asked to produce pics of us doing hand stands in front of a white background!


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