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British Holidaymakers Urged To Take More Care Of Their Passports

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Keep your British passport safe                  Photo © CyprusExpat.co.uk

23 March 2015

Where Do You Keep Yours?

Foreign & Commonwealth Office urges British nationals to value their passport

The Easter holidays are fast approaching and, according to recent research by the travel association ABTA,  millions of British nationals are planning to travel overseas this April. In light of this, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have launched a social media campaign asking British travelers #WhereDoYouKeepYours ? to promote the value of the passport by asking Britons to keep it safe and be aware of where it is at all times.

Although most trips abroad are  problem-free, tens of thousands of people still lost their passport or had it stolen last year and needed to be issued with an emergency travel document (ETD).

As a considerable amount of consular time is being taken up in handling cases of lost, stolen,damaged or invalid passports, the FCO have created six Vines (short video clips) which highlight some of the reasons that have led to people applying for an emergency travel document (ETD) abroad.

The Vines include:

o Using your passport as a beer mat

o Putting your passport in the washing machine

o Placing your passport in the microwave

o Theft of your passport

o Using your passport as a notebook

John Heppenstall, Head of Consular Campaigns at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: “Passports are essential for travelling and it is important to take care of them. Although most holidaymakers do, a lot of consular time could be saved if more people treated their passport as something as valuable as their phone or wallet. 

We also see  people travelling who are not aware that certain countries require a UK passport holder to have six months of validity left on their passport from the date of entry, and even up to two blank pages in your passport.

We strongly advise people to look after their passport, keep it safe and check its validity well in advance of travel.  Go to www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice  to find out the exact requirements for the country you are travelling to.”

Christian Muir, Head of Passport Check and Send at the Post Office said:  

“Taking care of your passport and ensuring it is up to date and has sufficient validity to meet the requirements of your destination country is vital to ensure you have a stress free holiday. For those looking to renew their passport for travel this Spring and Summer the Post Office’s Passport Check and Send Service ensures that passport applications are processed as quickly as possible as Post Office teams check the application for any errors to avoid rejection.”

In 2014, 20,612 UK passports were reported as lost or stolen around the world last year and 39,053 emergency travel documents (ETDs) were also issued overseas.

The FCO's five top tips for looking after your passport are:

Value your passport and look after it carefully. A damaged passport cannot be used for travel

Your passport is not always safer on you (e.g. lock your passport in a safe if you have access to one), unless the local law requires you to keep it with you.

Make two photocopies of your passport – leave one with friends or family and take the second with you, or store it online using a secure data storage site

Use this photocopy as alternative ID, for example when going out at night

Make sure your passport is valid. For certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements before you go.

The Vines can be viewed on FCO’s Facebook and Twitter feeds: www.facebook.com/fcotravel  or twitter.com/fcotravel.

Source Foreign & Commonwealth Office

How To Renew Your British Passport In Cyprus, click here

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