Dubai: Comic strips shared on the British Embassy’s social media channels are encouraging British nationals to look after their passports and ensure that they’re renewed in good time.
The move is part of a campaign run by the British Embassy this week to remind British expatriates to check when their passports are due to expire and make a diary note to renew them up to nine months before they expire to avoid any inconveniences.
The British Embassies in the Gulf region issued over 200 Emergency Travel Documents (ETD) in 2016. Getting an ETD costs Dh480, can be time consuming and inconvenient, they said.
Most requests for ETDs could have been avoided if people had checked the validity of their and their family’s passports.
British nationals think that by renewing a passport before it expires, they will lose out on validity they have paid for. But, in fact, any remaining validity on your existing passport (up to a total of nine months) will be added to your new one, a statement in a press release from the British Embassy said.
Needing to travel and finding out the passport is lost or expired is common, they said. This has resulted in dream holidays being cancelled, important family gatherings missed and job opportunities lost. One customer who had already suffered five lost-and-stolen passports over the years decided to keep it safe by storing it in the freezer where, unfortunately, it got ruined, so he had to get another emergency one.
Philip Parham, the British Ambassador to the UAE, said: “Our passports are one of the most important documents that we possess, but so many of us fail to renew them in time or misplace them and don’t notice until it’s too late.
“This campaign is to flag, in a fun way, some of the passport-related issues that our consular section witnesses in the hope that we can help prevent people from making the same mistakes. Having to apply for an ETD can add further stress to what is already a difficult situation and you will still need to get a new passport before you can re-enter the UAE.”
Applying for a new passport is simple: apply online at www.gov.uk/overseas-passports, pay online and keep track of the progress of your application. Just need to send your supporting documentation and photographs to HM Passport Office in the UK.