Passports and Visas

Different countries have their own entry requirements, from how much validity your passport needs to whether or not you need a visa.

If you’re a holidaymaker, it is important that you make sure you are aware of entry requirements for the country you’re visiting, both when you book and before you travel.  

A passport is valid for 10 years. However, many countries outside the EU require six months’ validity on passports from the date of the return to the UK, so it is vital to take this into account when checking passport expiry dates.

Signatures in UK Passports

HM Passport Office has started to introduce passports that will no longer include the holder’s signature in digital format. Instead the passport holder is required to sign their passport after it has been issued to them.

The change is being introduced on a phased basis, with all passports being issued without a digital copy of the holder’s signature from late January 2017. However, valid UK passports with the signature in digital format will continue to be in circulation up until 2027.

  • The passport must contain a signature to be valid for travel, customers should sign their passport as soon as they receive it.
  • Customers will need to sign above the pre-printed line above the page which shows their personal details such as their name and date of birth.
  • Customers will need to sign using a black ballpoint pen.
  • Existing passports with a digital signature are still valid for use until they reach their expiry date.

For more information, see the full news item or contact the Passport advice line number on 0300 222 0000.

Digital passport renewal

Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) has launched a new digital Passport Application Renewal Service, which is available to those who meet the following criteria, before being rolled out more widely by 2020:

Who can use it?

Adults aged 26 or over, residing in the UK, who don’t hold dual nationality
Who are in possession of the passport being renewed (not damaged, lost or stolen) and will not be making any changes to their name
Who want to renew a passport that expired/expires after 2012.

Find out more on  www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport.

We also advise holidaymakers to renew their passports early. The standard charge to renew an adult passport is £72.50, but this rises to £103 for the 1 week fast track service and £128 for the 1 Day Premium service. Customers should be advised that the Passport Office will add up to nine months unused validity onto a replacement passport, so they don’t have to wait for their passport to expire before renewing.

Where can I find out more about my passport and visa requirements for the country I’m visiting?

Your travel company can give you an overview of entry requirements for different countries and direct you to further information, but these requirements do change from time to time so it is important to check at the time of booking and before you travel.

You should consult the consulate or embassy of the country you’re planning to visit, and check the requirements at the time and booking and before you travel.

HM Passport Office

HM Passport Office is part of the Home Office and is the official issuer of UK passports.

Find out more information about applying for and renewing passports

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice

The FCO website has travel advice for individual countries which is regularly updated to provide the latest information on entry requirements.

Individual consulates

You can also look at the websites of individual Embassies and High Commissions to find out more about entry requirements and how to apply for a visa.

The FCO produce a list of all Foreign Embassies in the UK which is available here.