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Travel expert, CEO and founder of Bounce, Cody Candee, shared five essential tips to “avoid passport-related headaches” this year as well as to save time and money in your next holiday. According to the travel guru, the most important rule is to “check the passport’s blank pages”.
Check the passport’s blank pages
The travel expert explained that “if you run out of blank passport pages you will have to renew your passport sooner than your renewal date”.
Some countries, such as Italy, “require a fully blank visa page for valid entry”, while others, such as South Africa “require at least two”.
Spain also requires passengers to arrive at Spanish airports with at least two blank pages on their passports.
The Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores explained that travellers need a “valid, unexpired passport” which “must also contain at least two blank pages”.
Cody advised travellers to “be sure to check the requirements of your chosen destination before travelling so that you don’t get caught out”.
A lot of people are not aware of this rule and many Britons could arrive at their destinations without any blank pages on their passports, which could soon turn their trip into a travel nightmare.
Not being allowed entry into a country could also represent hundreds of pounds for tourists who would have to book return flights or arrange new accommodation.
Check that your passport is valid
Although it may sound obvious to many, some people don’t check that their passports will be valid for the entire duration of the trip.
Cody explained: “Not only should your passport be valid for your departure date, but many countries require your passport to be in date for at least six months after your arrival.
“This remains true, even if you’re visiting for a day,” he explained.
Renew your passport early
The cost of fast-tracking a new passport will be “significantly more expensive than standard applications” this year.
Therefore, the expert recommended renewing your passport well in advance. “If you have less than six months validity, we recommend applying for a new passport immediately,” he said.
“Not only are processing times currently around 10 weeks, but as travel is back on the cards for many following the pandemic, the Home Office is predicting another massive year for renewals,” Cody warned.
Beware of copycat websites
Nowadays, there are many websites that imitate official Government websites for passport applications.
Their aim is to charge users £20 to £100 on top of the official passport fee, by offering additional “validation” services, but this is a scam.
Cody advised: “When applying for a new passport, be cautious of these types of websites, and be sure only to use trusted sources.
“For example, the Post Office’s Check and Send Service offers in-depth passport application guidance, from specially trained Postmasters.”
From February 2, 2023, the Government will introduce new passport fees, including the fee for a standard online application made from within the UK rising from £75.50 to £82.50 for adults and £49 to £53.50 for children.
Overseas standard paper applications will increase from £95.50 to £104.50 for adults and £65.50 to £71.50 for children.
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