Your passport is an essential travel document… It could easily get damaged, lost or stolen. All new passports in the UK & Ireland now contain RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. These store data and help speed up the process of boarding as well as being able to allow electronic visas to be issued without the need of sending your passport to an embassy/consulate. Without a valid passport, you will not be able to travel or be able to apply for a visa for travelling. Here are 4 ways to help protect your passport:
1. Keep it in a safe place
This may seem like an obvious tip, however, we hear numerous stories of travellers misplacing their passport or having it stolen! Where are the best places to keep your passport when travelling?
- On your body – difficult to reach pockets, deep in a bag/hand luggage
- In a waterproof money belt/Ziploc bag to prevent water damage
- Hotel safe – if your room doesn’t have one, the place you are staying may have one at reception
- Make a duplicate copy for instances where you don’t need to provide an original
2. Passport Covers
Passports can be rejected by embassies/consulates/border control if they are not in good enough condition.
Passport covers have the ability to keep your passport safe from accidental damage and come in a wide range of designs and prices to suit your personal preference. Ranging from £0.89 to over £45.00, we would definitely recommend investing in a passport cover.
3. RFID Passport Shield
While a cover can protect your passport from physical damage, the data on your passport can still be at risk. Modern passports contain a data chip which allows for radio scanning at border control. This displays your data instantaneously and is great for the rapid movement of very busy transit areas – however, this technology could come with a price. Today’s Smart Phones come with a technology called NFC (Near Field Communication) which operates at exactly the same frequency as the chip in your passport, allowing someone with the right technology to see the details on your passport – even your photo.
Passport shields are designed to prevent radio scanners activating the chip in your passport.
Just remember to remove the shield when you get to passport control!
4. Passport Tracking
A number of companies have been working on a solution to help retrieve your lost passport. Some of these use GPS chips which allow you to track the exact location, whereas others include QR codes and barcodes to trace the whereabouts. One of the more affordable options is MyTAG:
MyTAG enables customers to securely tag and register their most treasured belongings from; wallets to mobiles, passports, keys or luggage – so that if lost, they can be reunited with their owners quickly and hassle free. If found, you are instantly contacted by text or email.
These are 4 essential steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of your passport when travelling. We hope these tips will help you.