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Travel documents to double check now

March 22, 2024
Travel documents to double check now
March 22, 2024

If you’ve booked a holiday or are thinking of booking one for later this year, you’re probably looking forward to a well-earned break and the chance to relax. In order for that to happen and for things to go as smoothly as possible while you’re abroad, it’s worth double checking some key travel-related documents well ahead of your departure date.


Here’s what you need to dig out, take out or renew – sooner rather than later.


Passport and Visa

The government advises you to allow 10 weeks for all the following UK passport applications.


If you’ve checked your passport expiry date recently you may want to check it again. That’s because as well as seeing when it expires, you also need to look at the date it was issued. 


Since Brexit, British passports have to be less than 10 years old on the day of arrival in the EU, and you’ll need the expiry date to be at least three months after your intended departure date from the EU. Some countries require six months left on your passport.


Read more about the rules that apply to where you’re travelling to here.


If you already have the new style dark blue British passport then yours will be fine as these were first produced in 2020, post-Brexit. 


However, a warning has been issued to anyone still holding a burgundy European passport as these could easily be invalid for your destination, without you realising.


Remember that:


  • every child needs their own passport no matter how young
  • children’s passports expire after five years (not 10)
  • if your passport is burgundy or has ‘European Union’ on the cover, you can continue to use it until it expires.


Need a new passport? Renew yours here.


If you’re travelling long-haul to specific countries (such as China, Russia or parts of the Middle East or Africa) or are staying longer-term than a holiday and require a Visa, you’ll need a Certificate of Good Health (IHR 2005) for the application process. 


Make this part of the process easier by purchasing a same-day certificate from ZoomDoc for £59. 


‘All our doctors are fully registered with the FCDO (Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office) and can provide you with this medical certificate as a PDF the same day as well as the original, which will be sent out the next working day. No in-person doctor’s appointment is needed – simply apply online,’ says ZoomDoc GP, Dr Vidushi Gor.



GHIC card


The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It lasts upto five years.


We may have left the European Union but if you travel to Europe from the UK, having a valid UK Global Health INsurance Card (GHIC) is vital.


‘The GHIC card has replaced EHIC cards and gets you access to state healthcare in EU countries as well as others including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland,’ says Dr Vidushi.


‘If you require healthcare that’s considered “medically necessary” and cannot wait until you’re back in the UK then this will either be free or charged as if you were a resident of that country,’ she adds.


The great news is that GHIC cards don’t cost a penny but remember:


  • it must be valid 
  • everyone travelling must have a valid card
  • you can renew yours up to nine months before it expires
  • you can use a valid EHIC card until it expires.


Double check your GHIC card and apply for a new one here if it has expired or you don’t have one.


Travel insurance


Travel insurance is there to protect you in the event that something goes wrong – medical costs, treatment abroad and cancellation charges.


If you don’t have travel insurance, consumer finance expert Martin Lewis urges you to purchase it ‘ASAB – as soon as you’ve booked a holiday.’


According to advice on his Money Saving Expert website this is because:


‘Travel insurance doesn’t just cover you while you’re away – it also covers you for cancellation, events such as redundancy or an injury or death in the family, or anything else that might go wrong BEFORE you make your trip.’


Before you purchase your travel insurance, check that:


  • it covers everyone on your trip for the dates of travel
  • if you need a specialist policy for certain countries or trips (skiing or other adventure holidays)
  • if you already have cover through your bank account.


‘If you do have to cancel your holiday for any reason remember that ZoomDoc offers same-day Travel and Holiday Cancellation Certificates, required to confirm sickness or a health condition and its impact on your travel plans,’ says Dr Vidushi.


Order your Travel and Holiday Cancellation Certificate here for £45.


Once you’ve uploaded your evidence, ZoomDoc GPs can provide you with a same-day travel and holiday cancellation certificate that will confirm your medical condition and advise cancellation is required. 


There’s no need to see your usual doctor, saving you time and freeing up GP appointments for those who really need them. Now you can get on with your insurance claim!


Travel Certificates and Medical Letters


If you are unable to have a specific vaccine for medical reasons, you may require an exemption certificate as evidence to travel.



If you have a certain condition, such as serious allergy, disability or are pregnant you may need to travel with a certificate that proves you’re fit to travel, or that verifies your condition or vaccine status.


‘This can depend on where you’re travelling to and what your health concern is but it’s always a good idea to be prepared and armed with the required medical letter to avoid any travel hold-ups or problems on your departure or arrival in a foreign country,’ says Dr Vidushi.


Find out more about all of our travel-related certificates and medical letters.

Want to know more?

Our team of Doctors are available via the ZoomDoc App for any medical questions or queries.