Published On: Sun, Jul 7th, 2024
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Warning over passport issues which could ‘end your holiday’ | Travel News | Travel

Woman at check in desk holding passport smiling

Experts have warned to take extra care of your passports ahead of your holidays to make sure they’re not damaged (Image: Getty Images)

Woman waiting at passport check in

Experts have warned to take extra care of your passports ahead of your holidays to make sure they’re (Image: Getty Images)

Travel experts are sounding the alarm for globetrotters about potential passport pitfalls that could derail their international adventures.

Your passport is your golden ticket to global gallivanting, so any hiccups with it could spell disaster for your dream destinations.

Gavin Lapidus, the travel expert at eShores, has issued a stark warning that even minor blemishes on your passport could throw a wrench in your getaway gears, as seemingly insignificant damage can escalate into major migraines.

Just because your slightly tattered travel tome was accepted before doesn’t guarantee it’ll pass muster in the future.

Before you set off, double-check your passport’s expiry date to ensure there’s a minimum of six months left anything less could land you in hot water.

While some countries might let you slide with a passport expiring within six months or even three, it’s a gamble you may not want to take.

Citizens Advice has chimed in, advising that passports with less than three months left during your travels, or those hitting the ten-year mark upon entering an EU nation, will need a refresh. For the most up-to-date entry requirements and travel tips for each country, the Foreign Office website is your go-to resource, reports Wales Online.

Lapidus said: “A passport is your gateway to the world, and even a little damage can result in complications at airport check-in desks. Most passports last ten years, during which they can expect some wear and tear.

“When travelling, your passport is checked for damage, tampering, and validity, with damaged documents facing rejection, putting an end to your holiday.”

Water-damaged passport

Two passports laid on the tipped over wooden boat

Water stains could be grounds for refusal (Image: Getty Images)

Your passport might be rejected if it’s been significantly damaged by water, particularly if details are unclear or the laminate is lifting, as this can raise concerns about potential photo tampering. Don’t leave your passport in your pocket if you’re planning a spontaneous dip or might drop it in the pool.

The HM Passport Office states that passports with stains on the pages, including ink, can be considered damaged and might prevent you from travelling.

To prevent water damage, consider buying a waterproof plastic bag for those unexpected dips.

Rips, tears and holes

One common misconception among holidaymakers is that a passport is acceptable for travel as long as all the information is present, visible, and legible. However, don’t be too sure as this isn’t always the case.

A lifted laminate on the personal details page, even if the photo and information are visible, can lead to rejection at your holiday destination. The same applies to torn or defaced pages.

Holes and cuts are typically utilised to invalidate old passports, hence they’re deemed unsuitable in a current passport. It’s crucial to store all documents safely and securely, avoiding any locations – or hands or teeth – that might cause a tear.

Bear in mind that if the chip on the passport is visible from the back cover, this could also result in rejection.

Don’t risk it

Stamping passport with red stamp rejected

Travel expert Gavin Lapidus warns holiday goers not to chance travelling with a damaged passport (Image: Getty Images)

Travel experts have cautioned that while many travellers assume that if their damaged passport has been accepted previously, it will remain valid for future journeys.

However, certain countries and airports may enforce stricter rules and requirements regarding the state of your passport.

Destinations such as Bali, Vietnam, Qatar, Australia and the United States are all known for their strict regulations concerning damaged passports. Nonetheless, it’s always possible for a passport with any damage to be rejected at any time and place, so it’s vital to ensure your passport is in perfect condition regardless of your destination.

A loose cover can lead to rejection

Passports can become worn over time, but loose or detached passport covers or bindings are common grounds for refusal. And it doesn’t matter if the pages inside your passport are in immaculate condition.

When it comes to safeguarding your new passport, taking every precaution is a no-brainer. It’s essential to invest in a sturdy passport cover to shield your travel document from any potential harm, be it tears, wear and tear, or unsightly stains.

Lapidus said: “If you’re concerned about passport damage, that’s usually a clear indication you may experience issues at the airport check-in. For peace of mind, you can contact the embassy for the country you’re visiting for clarity on what is acceptable damage. If you’re still worried, organise a replacement passport to ensure your holiday doesn’t come to a sudden, unexpected end before it’s even begun.”

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