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Should You Keep Your Passport with You in London?

Passports are one of the most important items when travelling and there can be so many different rules regarding them. The internet is filled with debates on whether you should or shouldn’t carry your passport.

Should you keep your passport with you in London? The times you should keep your passport with you are; at the airport, international train station, checking in to a hotel or hostel, changing money, hiring a car, picking up event tickets, buying alcohol or proving you’re old enough to get into a pub or club.

Your licence can suffice as proof but some companies can be sceptical whether it’s real or a fake licence if you are providing an international version. There have been times when I’ve tried to buy alcohol on my Australian licences and have been rejected.

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There is a counter-argument that you don’t need to bring any ID with you when you are in the UK but I disagree, especially if you are driving or younger-looking and plan on buying alcohol or are heading to a pub, bar or club. Of course, if you aren’t driving or no longer get asked to prove your age then it’s purely your choice if you bring ID.

I don’t carry my passport with me unless it is required, instead, I carry my licence in my wallet. I’m in my late 20’s and I still to this day get asked to prove my age, the easiest way to do this is with my UK licence.

Before I got my UK licence I was using my Australia licence as proof for my age. However, any time I needed to go to the bank I also had to bring my passport to prove who I was.

What Is A Valid Form of Identification?

This really depends on the reason you need the identification for, here are acceptable forms of ID in the UK:

  • A photo driving licence
  • A passport
  • Proof of age card, such as the PASS card from the national Proof of Age Standards Scheme
  • Biometric Residency Permit.
Kat with her British Passport

4 Tips to Keeping Your Passport Safe

Lock it Up

Lock your passport away in either the safe or locker provided by your accommodation. If a lockable space is not provided secure your bag with a travel lock. You can ask your accommodation to keep your passport safe as well. I personally prefer keeping it in my room or with my belongings but I am aware that some people prefer to carry it with them.

Have Electronic Copies

Before you head on your travels make sure you have electronic copies. Save these to your cloud or non-cloud drive and e-mail a copy to yourself and family or friends.

Things can happen when you are not careful, like my dad. One day he was doing a bit of washing and didn’t check his pockets. He likes to keep his passport in his pocket along with his wallet (no idea why). Next thing he knows he’s pulling out a totally ruined passport from his trouser pocket. Not so helpful when you live in another country as fly in and fly out. Luckily, he had copies of his passport and was given an exception by the airline and immigration to get to the nearest embassy to replace his passport.

It’s easier to prove your identity when you have copies available when the original isn’t around or if the physical copy is damaged.

Some people do take photocopies and carry those instead of carrying around the physical version.

Hide It

When travelling in public areas ensure your passport is secure. I keep my passport in a zip pocket within a bag that would be hard to grab without me noticing. Whatever method you choose to keep your passport safe make sure it’s hard for people to snatch it without you noticing or the person just wouldn’t be able to find it.

Protect Your Passport

Damaging your passport is another pain! I covered my dad’s incident of damaging his passport but there are other things than washing machines that ruin your passport.

The UK is famous for its drizzle and rain so keep it as safe as possible to prevent water damage and travel with a waterproof cover. Additionally watch out for anything that can cause rips and tears.

Not sure how I managed to get tears in my passport, I think it was from the plane tickets, immigration cards and then pulling them out caused wear and tear. At one point the Australian Immigration officer was advising me to replace my passport soon before I lost the most important page. The passport managed to withstand quite a number of years more of use with a bit more TLC.

Have you had any incidents with your passport? Let me know your stories in the comments below.

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Hi, I'm Kat, an Australian that moved to London in 2013 to start a new adventure. What a roller-coaster that was! I love helping others move to the UK and people explore the world! I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.

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