Passport rules mean Britons could miss out on summer holidays when lockdown ends

Passport rules mean Britons could miss out on summer holidays when lockdown ends

Holidays have been firmly put on hold in recent months, as the travel industry shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But as the lockdown rules are slowly being eased in Britain, the government is expected to announce changes to its travel advice in the coming weeks. However, experts are urging keen travellers to check their documents before attempting to book anything. 

The official advice over the last few months has been to avoid all overseas travel unless it is absolutely essential. 

However, with lockdown measures being slowly lifted, it’s thought that the Foreign Office could change its guidance by the end of this month. 

The government has also enforced a new rule which means that any passengers arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

The new quarantine rules will mean that travellers can be fined £100 for failing to fill in a form with the details of the address they’ll be staying in.

READ MORE: Spain holidays: Anyone who tests positive for COVID could be sent home

Those looking to renew their passports online would have seen the official guidance as the passport office struggled to meet demand. 

“It is taking longer than the usual three weeks to process applications because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Do not apply unless you need a passport urgently for compassionate reasons, for example if a family member has died, or for government business,” the website states. 

Though the lockdown restrictions may be lifted, it’s likely there could still be delays for those needing new documents to travel – which could put holidays at risk. 

The offices have had to implement new working practices and social distancing measures in order to keep its staff and customers safe, which means producing the passports takes longer than usual. 

The fast track service is also not operating due to the current crisis. The government website warns: “Premium and Fast Track services are temporarily unavailable because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Phone the Passport Adviceline if you need a passport urgently for compassionate reasons, for example if a family member has died, or for government business.”

However, those with a few months left on their current passports should also check the rules and regulations for the country that they’re hoping to visit, as tourism starts to reopen around the world. 

Some countries, such as Thailand, Egypt and Turkey, require at least six months validity on a passport – meaning travellers could be unable to book if it’s been almost ten years since it was issued. 

However, for those who can’t go abroad this summer there is some hope, with campsites and other holiday parks making plans to reopen soon so that people can have a break a little closer to home.

Published at Sun, 14 Jun 2020 11:59:00 +0000