John Howe, partner at Pudsey law firm John Howe & Co, is sending a stark warning to would-be holidaymakers to ensure their documentation is correct or risk being unable to travel.
The NHS app acts as a ‘Covid passport’ to prove vaccination status, required in some countries prior to entry. It also allows re-entry to the UK from green and amber list countries without the need for self-isolation.
However, reports suggest that issues can arise if the name on the Covid passport is not the same as the name on the traveller’s actual passport. For example, a woman who travels under her maiden name but has NHS records in her married name.
The advice is to check the names match at least two weeks before travel. A GP should be able to change the name on NHS records, which in turn updates the app.
Passengers can also fall foul of new rules brought in following the UK’s exit from the EU which means some passports may appear to be in date but are no longer valid.
The regulations, which apply to most EU countries state that passports must be under ten years old. The requirement to have six months remaining on the passport remains, but importantly holidaymakers should ensure their passport has at least six months left from the date the passport was issued – not the expiry date.
For example, a passport with an issue date of July 2011 may have an expiry date of April 2022 if extra months have been added from a renewal. But due to the rule change this passport actually expires in July 2021.
John Howe said: “Following the restrictions on travelling abroad these anomalies have started to come to light and ruined the holiday plans of people caught out.
“The Government has created an online checker to help passport holders and reassure them their passports are valid for travel but less simple is to ensure that the names on the Covid and travel passport align.
“While this should be straightforward, we have heard of people struggling to make this happen so our advice would be to plan well in advance, double check documentation and keep abreast of the ever-changing guidance and regulations. Then enjoy a relaxed holiday!”