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FCO urges Brits not to use passports as beer mats

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have launched a social media campaign – ‘WhereDoYouKeepYours?’ – urging British travellers to keep their passports safe.

“Although most trips abroad are problem-free, tens of thousands of people still lost their passport or had it stolen last year and needed to be issued with an emergency travel document (ETD), said an announcement from the British High Commision.

It said a considerable amount of consular time was being taken up in handling cases of lost, stolen, damaged or invalid passports.

The FCO has created six Vines (short video clips) which highlight some of the reasons that have led to people applying for an emergency travel document (ETD) abroad. They include people using their passports as a beer mat, putting it in the washing machine or microwave, or using it as a notebook.

John Heppenstall, head of consular campaigns at the FCO, said: “Passports are essential for travelling and it is important to take care of them. Although most holidaymakers do, a lot of consular time could be saved if more people treated their passport as something as valuable as their phone or wallet.

We also see people travelling who are not aware that certain countries require a UK passport holder to have six months of validity left on their passport from the date of entry, and even up to two blank pages in your passport. We strongly advise people to look after their passport, keep it safe and check its validity well in advance of travel. “

In 2014, 20,612 UK passports were reported as lost or stolen around the world and 39,053 emergency travel documents (ETDs) were also issued overseas.

Go to www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the exact requirements for individual the country. The Vines can be viewed on FCO’s Facebook and Twitter feeds: www.facebook.com/fcotravel or twitter.com/fcotravel.

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