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Why your passport could cost you your holiday

23 May 2016

Gocompare.com Travel insurance is urging Brits holidaying abroad this summer to plan ahead and check the passport requirements for their holiday destination – otherwise they could be seriously out of pocket if they have to delay or cancel their travel plans.

  • New rules require holidaymakers travelling to the United States to hold a new style biometric e-passport;
  • Passports need to be valid from three to six months from the date of return to the UK – depending on the holiday destination.

The warning comes following new rules requiring travellers to the United States to hold an e-passport (also known as a biometric passport).  Brits jetting to destinations outside the EU, should also check the expiry dates of their passports - many non-EU countries require passports to be valid for six months from the date of the return to the UK.   

Alex Edwards, Gocompare.com Travel Insurance spokesperson explained, “Travel insurance provides a financial buffer if your passport is lost or stolen while you are on holiday but, policies typically exclude you failing to get the visa or other documentation you require to visit your chosen destination.  So, we’re urging people to take the time, well in advance of their holiday, to check they have the necessary documentation for their trip.

“In particular, holidaymakers heading to America need to check they hold an e-passport otherwise they will be turned away at the airport check-in desk.   Under the United States’ Visa Waiver Programme, most British citizen passport holders can visit the US for up to 90 days for a holiday or business trip without a visa, but may need to get authorisation from the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation before they travel.  However, new tighter security rules were introduced on 1 April 2016.  These require all travellers wishing to enter the US under the waiver programme, to hold an e-passport.  These contain an embedded electronic chip containing biometric information about the passport holder.

“Biometric passports were introduced in the UK in October 2006 so, if you’ve not renewed your passport for a good while, you need to dig it and check its validity.  You can tell whether your passport is an e-passport by looking to see if it has a gold camera symbol at the bottom of the front cover.”

Alex added, “Wherever you’re jetting off to this summer, it’s important that you know the entry requirements for the country you are visiting.  It’s your responsibility to have the correct visas and to make sure that your passport is valid.  For example, if you’re holidaying in Asia or the Middle East your passport should be valid for at least six months from the date of your visa application.  The Foreign and Commonwealth website* contains country by country advice on entry requirements and other essential information including local laws and health matters.” 

Gocompare.com has produced a guide on passport cover.

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Notes to editors:

*Foreign and Commonwealth travel advice:https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice