The most important document when traveling abroad is the passport. Passports are the highest form of personal identification, and prove your citizenship to foreign governments. All UK passport applications are processed by Her Majesty’s Passport Office. Their website provides information about UK passport offices hours and locations, as well as how to make an appointment. If you have never traveled abroad before, or if it has been a long time, here are some important bits of information you should be aware of.
- In addition to the passport, you also need to obtain a visas from each country you seek to visit. A visa is an official mark of permission to enter that country, and is attached to your passport in the blank pages section. If you use up all the pages, you will need a new passport.
- Filling out the application form incorrectly, or not submitting photographs that meet official guidelines, can cause a delay in application processing. For a small fee, some post offices will check and verify that your application meets all the standards before sending it.
- As a UK citizen, you are permitted to work and travel throughout the European Union countries without a visa. If you wish to move to another country within the EU, you will need to register for a residency permit, which is usually easy to obtain.
- Although some countries will admit travelers without a visa for certain lengths of time, this is highly inadvisable. Once there, you may experience delays in the visa application process, or even need to bribe officials to obtain one.
- Children under the age of 16 may apply for a child passport. These will require them to be accompanied by an adult when leaving the country.
- The expiration limit for adult passports is ten years, and for child passports it is five. If you have continuous need for a valid passport, you should begin the renewal process several months in advance of expiration to ensure there is no lapse.
Passport applications usually take six weeks to process, or three weeks to renew. This can be expedited by paying an additional fee, or employing the help of a third party passport service company that specializes in handling the proper paperwork.