Travelling through airports is often the most stressful part of a holiday. The UK Border Force has issued the following tips to help ensure travellers start their holidays in the best way possible.
If you’re already planning to roll your clothes to make extra room in your suitcase and have already ordered your currency, knowing the UK Border Force’s top ten travel tips could really save your time at passport control this summer – and they should know as they welcomed and checked the passports of over 130 million travellers across UK borders last year:
Make sure your passport is valid for your travels – ideally for six months to cover for every eventuality. If you are heading outside of the EU, or you are a non EU visitor to Europe then you will need to check if you need a visa before you arrive. And keep all your travel documents within easy reach.
- If you are travelling aboard with children who have different surnames to you, bring evidence to show your relationship. This can include a birth or adoption certificate, or letters of consent for travel. This will help speed up vital child safeguarding checks carried out by Border Force. In 2017 over 140 modern slavery cases were referred to the UK border police for investigation with 91 of those cases involving children.
- Check customs advice to see how much duty-free allowance you are entitled to and what you can or can’t bring to your destination or home country. There are restrictions on animal, plant, fruit and flower related items which can be brought into most countries.
- Download the apps for your airline and airports so you can receive the latest information about your travel on the move. Also check to see if your airport provides any priority services to get your through airport security and passport control quicker for a small fee. If you are a frequent international traveller you can often sign up for a local traveller service. For example, regular visitors to the UK can use the Registered Travel Service.
- Prefer to carry cash? If you are carrying large sums of money, equivalent to 10,000 Euros or more in most countries, you will need to declare it on your arrival in Customs. They will will require an explanation about the source of the income and why so much cash is needed for your visit. This is to rule out any links to criminality.
- If you are travelling with a child with autism, some airports will fast-track your security to make travelling easier for your child and your family. Check ahead of your trip to see what facilities your airport can offer. Visit this link for more information: http://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/PRM/Special-assistance-guidance-from-airports-and-airlines/
- When you land, take time to freshen up, use the toilets and get a drink (pack a re-usable water bottle and fill it up when you need to – to avoid bringing liquids through security) as it may take time to go through passport control during busy periods.
- If you can, use eGates. You will need to have a ‘chipped’ passport and have be in an area where your passport is allowed to use the eGates. For example in Europe and the UK, your passport will need to be from the UK, EU or EEA countries and you need to be be over 12 (under 18s must be accompanied by an adult).
- Make sure you are ready for passport inspections by having your passport open at the photo page. You can also speed things up by removing headwear, headphones and sunglasses. Check if you will need to complete a landing card and have it ready with the rest of your documents for inspection.
- And finally please be patient and understanding – as peak holiday times approach in late July and August, Border Force officers will be busier than ever carrying out vital checks – with 5-10% more travellers expected this year!
You can also read our airport hacks article which will help you be a smarter traveller.