The importance of keeping your passport safe, secure and up to date cannot be over-emphasized. We all know that keeping your passport safe is important but surely there’s not much that can go wrong??
Well, last year, 30,000 ETDs (Emergency Travel Documents) were issued by the Foreign Office to Brits abroad. If you lose your passport, if it is out of date or even damaged, you will need to get an ETD. This costs you time, money and hassle and really is best avoided!
The Foreign Office and Know Before You Go Campaign have launched a video to raise awareness about the value of your passport and the importance of keeping it safe.
You can avoid having to get an ETD by following a few simple steps to protect your passport:
Don’t lose your passport
When you are travelling, your passport is not necessarily safest being carried on your person. Always carry a good photocopy of your passport but leave the actual passport in a safe or locked room if this is possible. On most of our projects overseas, there is usually somewhere secure to leave your passport so you don’t have to worry about it.
Don’t let it expire whilst you are travelling
For certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel so it is always worth paying close attention to the expiry date on your passport. If you are planning a long trip but your passport is close to the expiry date, it is worth getting a new passport before you set off on your trip. You can apply for a new passport at any time. Time left on an existing passport is added to your new one – up to a maximum of 9 months.
Don’t let it get damaged
I tend to keep my passport in a leather wallet to protect it from getting too damaged in my bag or by the elements when I’m out and about travelling. This is great until it comes to crossing borders when the officials will want you to take it out of the protective wallet.
Should you need to obtain an ETD, it can take several days depending on local circumstances. You may need to obtain a police report, get passport photos, and of course get to and from your nearest British Consulate or Embassy. You may also have to replace any visas you need for your journey.
Protect your passport and enjoy your time overseas without having to worry about wasting time at the British Consulate!