My UK passport will expire this year, so I need to get it renewed. The process requires me to send my current passport to the UK, and it will be returned by post.

However, it will certainly be delivered during working hours, when I'm not in, meaning that I will have to collect it from the post office, and they will require an identity document. The only document I have which is likely to satisfy them is my passport, and that will be inside the envelope I'm trying to collect.

I explained the situation to a post office worker and their reply was that the rules say that it must be an original document; their suggestion was to make a photocopy of my passport and hope that I get lucky and the person behind the desk when I try to collect will accept it. That's obviously a fairly risky strategy.

What solutions are there to this catch-22?

  • As the Spain tag suggest you're living in that country, do you have an NIE number, and might that not be used?
    – Giorgio
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 23:27
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    Are you not able to renew your passport at a British consulate in Spain?
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 23:37
  • Would they accept a photo-copy of your old passport? Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 3:16
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    @phoog, no. That hasn't been possible since February 2014. Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 7:36
  • 1
    I would generally ask the post office what they accept as proof of identity. For example a driving licence may well do the trick.
    – michaeljt
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 13:28

2 Answers 2


Correos offices accept driving licences (I've used both a UK provisional licence and a Spanish full licence) without question, as it's official government ID.

A reference for Correos offices accepting driving licences as proof of ID while collecting a letter is Real Decreto 1829/1999, regarding the implementation of the liberalised postal market, which states in Article 32.1:

El destinatario o la persona autorizada que se haga cargo del envío postal tendrá que identificar su personalidad, ante el empleado del operador postal que efectúe la entrega, mediante la exhibición de su documento nacional de identidad, pasaporte, permiso de conducción o tarjeta de residencia, salvo notorio conocimiento del mismo.

that is (my translation and bolding):

The addressee or the authorised person who collects the postal delivery will have to identify themselves before the employee of the postal operator which manages the delivery, using their National Identity Document (DNI), Passport, Driving Licence or Residence Card, unless they are known personally.

As a bonus, a Spanish driving licence also shows your NIE so you can use it for proof of ID where that is required (eg when taking out a mobile phone contract or at the bank), and avoid having to carry the "Certificado de registro de Ciudadano de la Unión" with you to prove your NIE.

  • My understanding from the lady at Correos that I asked is that it's against the rules but you might get away with it. Of course, Murphy's law says that when there's no fallback plan that will be the time that you get a funcionario who plays strictly by the rules. Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 19:52
  • I've just found a link - Real Decreto 1829/1999 states explicitly that a driving licence is OK (article 32.1) - boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-1999-24919. I'll amend my answer shortly.
    – Edd
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 20:06
  • Good find. I'm changing the accepted answer because although this is too late for me, it will be very helpful for the next person in the same situation. Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 21:01

Since you mention "working hours", have it delivered at work, ie with you and your company's name on it, allowing the receptionist to accept it. UKPA may ask you for a letter from senior officers of your employer on company letterhead, or other similar proof.

  • While the poster says he has no other identity document than his passport, s/he doesn't specify any supposed "address requirements" may be. I hope that my constructive answer offers a "solution to the catch-22".
    – qoba
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 18:01
  • While not an answer to the title question, my proposition certainly answers the final question in the text ("what solutions are there to this catch 22"), doesn't it?
    – qoba
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 18:10
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    The guidance notes say "If you want it delivered to a different address, please explain why and give the other address when you get to the ‘Additional information’ section of the online form. We may contact you for evidence of your connection to that address." I'm not sure what evidence I can give for my work address either, but that seems to be the least risky of a limited set of subideal options. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 22:12
  • @PeterTaylor good luck!
    – qoba
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 22:14
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    Forgot to close the loop. I followed this approach; the UKPA asked for a letter on letterhead stationery signed by someone from senior management. And then they sent me the passport by DHL rather than by Correos. Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 22:45

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