HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 c806W
Paul Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the policy of the Passport Office is on advising members of the public about the travel documents required for foreign travel. [130245]

Beverley Hughes

The UK Passport Service (UKPS) has a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy that includes a range of initiatives to advise members of the public about the passport requirements for foreign travel. UKPS works closely with the travel trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to ensure that timely and relevant information is conveyed. UKPS advises travellers to check with relevant embassies about visa requirements and length of passport validity which must remain to travel to each country as these are matters for them to determine. UKPS also distributes its literature to a range of organisations including the Citizens' Advice Bureau and Registrars offices throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Media campaigns are normally planned to take place in early January and autumn each year to remind customers to think about their passport requirements and act as early as possible. Most recently UKPS and the FCO worked together to publicise the new requirements for travel to USA, about which there are ongoing discussions between the FCO and US.

The UKPS has a range of information channels, which it utilises to convey its messages. These include: an established 24 x 7 Passport Adviceline on 0870 521 0410; a comprehensive website at www.passport.gov.uk; and a network of high street partners which include the Post Office and Worldchoice travel agents.

All these contact details are shown in media advertising.

The UKPS also produces contact cards, which are available via its website, to businesses, voluntary organisations etc. who wish to provide their clients with contact details for the UK Passport Service.