Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged passport can be a holiday nightmare; expensive and time consuming and just what you do not need when on holiday. But how can you safeguard this most important travel document?
Savvy travellers know that the key to a successful trip is to avoid having their passport lost or stolen.
But every year British Consulate offices throughout Turkey and around the world help thousands of British nationals who need to apply for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) because they have lost or damaged their passport.
Following these simple suggestions and tips can help you avoid the need to apply for an ETD.
British nationals can find themselves in need of an ETD because they haven’t kept their passports safe.
Maybe the passport fell out of their pocket when they left a taxi, was left behind in a cafe, toilets or anywhere where carrying the document means it has to be put down and subsequently forgotten.
A British passport is a valuable find for any thief. They can be sold on and used for crime or other illegal activities.
Reading travel advice from the Foreign Office will provide you with essential information about crime rates, remind you of thefts by gangs targeting tourists’ hire vehicles and remind you to be vigilant with bags when travelling.
Expats living abroad often need to take an unplanned trip abroad to visit an ageing parent, a relative who has fallen ill or for the funeral of a loved one.
They are frequently unable to travel because their passport has expired.
Others make holiday arrangements only to learn that their passport doesn’t have the necessary validity to enter a certain country.
Applying for an ETD can be avoided if you know when your passport expires, renew it in good time and check the requirements for your holiday destination.
Obtaining an ETD can be costly.
Not only will you have to pay the £95 GBP fee, you will also have to visit your nearest consulate which could be a flight or long drive away.
Top Tips to Avoid a Holiday Nightmare
Following these simple tips can help ensure you avoid the need for an ETD:
FCO passport tips for British visitors and expats:
– know where your passport is at all times and keep it in a safe place.
– know the expiry date of your passport and renew it in good time.
– value your passport and look after it carefully. A damaged passport cannot be used for travel
– never leave your passport in a rental car, even for a short period. Rental cars are prime targets for theft
– your passport is not always safer on you. Lock your passport in a safe if you have access to one and take another form of ID, such as your driving licence, out 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 or take a photo and keep it on your smart phone or similar device
– use this photocopy as alternative ID, for example when going out at night
– make sure your passport is valid. For certain countries including Turkey your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements before you go otherwise you may be refused a visa or worse refused entry when you arrive.