If you're looking to make a smooth start to your journey, you need to make sure you have the right documents, such as a valid passport and the relevant visas.
To help, we've summarised some of the key considerations and requirements here - but it's not a full list of all possible requirements around the world. It's your responsibility to ensure you have the right documents to be allowed to travel.
If you're travelling on an international flight, you’ll need a passport or an equivalent travel document that is valid for the full duration of your trip. Your children will also need their own passports, even infants under two years.
Some countries additionally require that the passport is valid for a minimum period beyond your trip, usually three or six months. Visit the IATA Travel Centre to check the passport validity requirements of your destination.
For flights into the UK from the EU if you are travelling on an ID card, you are still recommended to bring your passport with you, if you have one. You could get through the UK Border quicker by using your ePassport at the eGates on arrival.
If you are flying solely within the UK, including Northern Ireland, you do not need a passport but we advise that you carry photographic identification with you when travelling, such as your passport or driving licence. This may be requested at certain points in your journey. Children under the age of 16 years do not require identification to travel within the UK.
If you are a citizen of the UK or Republic of Ireland who was born in that country you do not need a passport to travel between the two countries but you do require some form of photographic identification, such as a driving licence.
All other travellers require a valid passport to travel between the two countries.
Processing times for passports vary but it may take six weeks or longer to receive a passport after applying, so we advise that you wait until your passport has arrived before making a booking. Many countries offer fast-track applications where required.
If you need a passport or need to renew an existing one you can apply directly to your nation’s passport office. In the UK, that’s the UK passport service.
If you’d like help with your application, British Airways has partnered with VisaCentral, a company that will do all of the hard work for you. VisaCentral can help with passport renewals and replacements, name changes, second passports and new passports for children. Plus, as a British Airways customer you’ll get a 30% discount on the service fees.
Depending on your nationality and the purpose of your journey, you may need a visa or an equivalent form of authorisation for every country you enter as part of your journey — even if you are only connecting from one flight to another. This is in addition to a valid passport.
Check if you need a visa via the IATA Travel Centre - it's free to check and also includes passport and health requirements, as well as customs, currency and airport information.
Check if you need a visa with our partner VisaCentral - it's free to check and they’ll tell you exactly what documents you need to get one. Plus, as a British Airways customer you’ll get a 30% discount on VisaCentral service fees if you need help with an application.
If you're a citizen of a country covered by the Visa Waiver Programme (such as the UK) you are able to travel to the USA with an Electronic System Travel Authorisation (ESTA) instead of a visa.
Make sure you apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before your departure.You may not be allowed to travel if you arrive at the airport without an ESTA.
You will need a valid e-Passport to use ESTA. These have a microchip symbol on their front cover. ESTAs are valid for multiple journeys for up to two years or until your passport expires, whichever is sooner.
You will need to apply for a visa to travel to the United States and should contact your local US Embassy in the following circumstances:
Our partner VisaCentral can take the hard work out of applying, and offers a safe, secure and easy way to obtain your ESTA. Benefits of using its service include:
If you're travelling to China, you'll need to check what type of visa you require. Transit visas are available if you are staying for less than 144 hours.
If you have a British passport, the GOV.UK website shows what types of are available when travelling to or through China.
Find out more about visa requirements for China (British passport holders only)
If you have a passport from any other country, please ensure you check with your nearest Chinese Embassy.
Alternatively, our partner VisaCentral can quickly, securely and easily obtain a Visa for you.
If you are travelling to India, you may be able to obtain an eTourist Visa online, just four days before you travel. The visa will be valid for 60 days and you will need to present a printed copy when you check in to be able to travel.
Alternatively, our partner VisaCentral can quickly, securely and easily obtain an eTourist Visa for you.
While we make every effort to keep this information up to date, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) visa restrictions can change at short notice. Please check the IATA Travel Centre before you book.
Alternatively, our partner VisaCentral can quickly, securely and easily obtain a Visa for you.
If you are a Hajj or Umrah pilgrim, you must enter KSA through Jeddah with a valid Hajj or Umrah visa. Travel must be between the official pilgrimage travel dates:
If you are travelling from the UK, we recommend to book through our specialist partner Masterfare who can arrange your flight and Hajj/Umrah visa through a KSA Ministry of Hajj approved agent.
If you are travelling from another country, or you book on ba.com, it is your responsibility to ensure you get the correct pilgrimage visa from a KSA Ministry of Hajj-approved Hajj or Umrah agent.
If you do not have the correct documentation, or have booked to travel outside the official pilgrimage dates, you will not be allowed to travel or be able to get a refund.
If you are not Muslim, you can enter Jeddah or Riyadh at any time using a business or visit visa.
If you are Muslim, are using a business or visit visa during Hajj, or are travelling in the 6-week period up to and including Hajj, you must enter KSA through Riyadh.
If you are Muslim with a business or visit visa, you will need a Hajj visa to travel during the official pilgramage travel dates:
These restrictions do not apply to residents or citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
KSA visa restrictions change at short notice. Please check the IATA Travel Centre before you book.
Some countries' immigration departments require additional documentation for all children under 18 years travelling into, out of or transiting their country. This varies depending on the country so please check before you travel on the IATA Travel Centre. Just make sure you use the date of birth of your child to receive the correct information.
If you need a visa for your journey, you can apply directly with the embassy or high commission of the country you want to travel to — visit their website or local consulate to learn more about the process.
Alternatively, our partner VisaCentral can do all of the hard work for you:
Many countries require us to collect some passport and travel information about who's flying into their country. The information you provide is sent securely to the necessary government authorities.
You will need to supply some or all of the following details:
Additionally, when travelling to the US, you will need to provide:
If you're a US citizen and have a 'Global Entry' number, you don't need to provide this as part of your API. When you arrive in the US your Global Entry status will be recognised when you use the dedicated Immigration kiosk.
Some governments require us to provide them with information from flight bookings, which will contain additional passenger details to those listed above.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the US Department of Homeland Security requires us to collect information from you for purposes of watch list screening, under the authority of 49 U.S.C. section 114, and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Providing this information is voluntary; however, if you don't provide it, you may be subject to additional screening or denied transport or authorisation to enter the post-security area. TSA may share information you provide with law enforcement or intelligence agencies or others under its published system of records notice. For more on TSA Privacy policies, or to view the system of records notice and the privacy impact assessment, visit tsa.gov.
If you are a national of one of the below countries you can join the 'Registered Traveller' scheme and enjoy faster entry to the UK, as long as you have a biometric passport.
When you apply, the UK Border Force carries out checks to see if you are eligible to join. If accepted, you won't need to fill out a landing card for the UK. You'll be able to enter the UK at the ePassport gates or the UK/EU lanes at several UK airports, including all London airports, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.
UK citizens can get through US passport control faster by joining Global Entry, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) programme. The scheme allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers arriving in the United States. Benefits include:
Membership lasts for five years and the application process includes background checks (at a non-refundable cost of £42 payable to the UK government), online enrolment with the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (at a non-refundable cost of USD100) and attendance at a face to face interview at an official enrolment centre.
When you're travelling with us to New York JFK from London City airport, you can clear US Immigration and Customs during a short stop (up to 45 minutes) in Shannon, Ireland. This means you can arrive in the US as a domestic passenger and bypass New York passport control.
We are delighted to participate in the TSA Pre✓® programme for customers departing from US airports. TSA Pre✓® is a faster, easier security screening process at US airports. Once enrolled, you will be able to speed through security without removing shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets.
Who is eligible:
Enter your Global Entry, TSA Pre✓®, NEXUS or SENTRI membership number (Known Traveller Number) to your booking each time you travel to demonstrate your eligibility. You can add your Known Traveller Number during online check-in via Manage My Booking on ba.com, at an airport desk or by contacting us.
Even if you are eligible for TSA Pre✓® as a member of a trusted traveller programme, TSA Pre✓® does not guarantee expedited screening.
Where a TSA Pre✓® lane is not available, you can show your TSA Pre✓® boarding pass and may receive a form of expedited screening in a standard lane.