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Passports, visas and API

Passport banner.

This is not a full list of travel documentation requirements for around the world. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the right documents to be allowed to travel.


Identification on international flights

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.

Identification on UK domestic flights

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.

Identification on flights between the UK and Republic of Ireland

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.

Obtaining a passport

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. You’ll get a 30% discount on VisaCentral’s service fees as a British Airways customer.

Get a passport through VisaCentral


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.

Do I need a visa?

For free, accurate and up-to-the-minute advice on visa requirements and certain types of entrance fees, visit the IATA Travel Centre. You’ll also be able to check passport and health requirements, as well as customs, currency and airport information for your destination:

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.

Help with your visa application

We have partnered with VisaCentral who can do all of the hard work for you:

  • safe, secure and easy way to obtain your visa
  • save time — VisaCentral will stand in line at the embassy or consulate on your behalf
  • get a 30% discount on handling fees as a British Airways customer

Get a visa through VisaCentral

Visas for China

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.

e-Tourist Visa for India

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 30 days and you will need to present a printed copy when you check in to be able to travel.

Find out more and apply for India e-Tourist Visa

Visa restrictions for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

If you are a pilgrim

You must enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) through Jeddah with a valid Hajj visa during the following pilgrimage period, or on an Umrah pilgrimage visa outside this period:

  • London Heathrow to Jeddah (BA133) from 24 July to 25 August 2017 inclusive
  • Jeddah to London Heathrow (BA132) from 6 September to 5 October 2017 inclusive

You cannot:

  • travel for Hajj using an Umrah visa
  • travel for Umrah using a Hajj visa
  • enter, transfer or transit through Riyadh
  • travel outside of the official pilgrimage dates determined by the Saudi authorities each year

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, 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 a pilgrim

  • 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 on flight BA133 between 24 July and 30 August 2017 inclusive.

Please note

•The above 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.

Contact us for more information

collapsedshowFaster entry to the UK with the Registered Traveller service

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.

Region Country
Asia Brunei
Hong Kong (must be a Special Administrative Region passport)
South Korea
Taiwan (you must have a personal ID number on the photo page) 
Australasia Australia
New Zealand
Middle East Israel
North America Canada
South and Central America Argentina
Costa Rica
El Salvador

Once you apply, the UK Border Force will carry out checks to see if you are eligible to join, and once you're 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.

Find out more or apply for the Registered Traveller scheme 

Find out more about or apply for the Registered Traveller Apply for the Registered Traveller scheme
collapsedshowTravelling to the US - ESTA

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 without a visa provided you hold a valid Electronic System Travel Authorisation (ESTA) and meet the requirements of the programme.

In addition, you will need to have a valid e-Passport along with your ESTA. e-Passports include an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic and biometric information, such as the digital photograph of the holder. You can identify an e-Passport by the 'chip' symbol on its front cover.

When you can't use an ESTA

If you have dual nationality with one passport being issued by a country eligible under the Visa Waiver Programme and the other issued by Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, you will no longer be able to enter the US using an ESTA.

If you have an ESTA and have visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since 1 March 2011, you can't use the Visa Waiver Programme. You will need to apply for a visa to travel to the United States, and should contact your local US Embassy.

Applying for an ESTA

You can apply for an ESTA online and should receive approval straight away, although we recommend applying at least 72 hours before your departure. An ESTA is valid for multiple journeys for up to two years or until your passport expires, whichever is sooner.

More about the Visa Waiver Program and ESTAs

Apply for an ESTA

Help with your ESTA application

Our partner VisaCentral can take all of the hard work and offer a safe, secure and easy way to obtain your ESTA. Benefits of this exclusive service include:

  • a 30% discount on VisaCentral's handling fees for British Airways customers
  • quality assurance and review of all documents by VisaCentral professionals

Get an ESTA through VisaCentral

collapsedshowTravelling to the US – Global Entry scheme

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:

  • no processing queues
  • no requirement to complete a paper customs declaration form
  • reduced waiting times
  • TSA Pre✓® Eligibility (faster, more efficient security screening at participating US airports)

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.

More about Global Entry and FAQs

Apply for Global Entry

collapsedshowTravelling to the US from London City

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.

  • When you land at Shannon, take all your personal belongings with you. Please have your completed customs declaration form, passport, boarding pass and any checked baggage receipts ready.
  • Once you're inside the terminal, follow the signs for 'US Immigration and Border Protection'.
  • After airport security has screened your checked baggage (or if you’re traveling with hand baggage only), go directly to the US Pre-Clearance desks.

More about our London City to New York service

collapsedshowTravelling to Canada - eTA

Unless you're a US citizen or need a visa to enter Canada, you will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before you travel. This requirement includes all British citizens. The cost of the eTA is CAD7 per person and the validity is five years, or until your passport expires.

Find out more and apply for Canada eTA

collapsedshowTravelling with children under 18 years

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.

collapsedshowAdvance passenger information (API)

Many countries require us to collect some passport and travel information about who's flying into their country.

What information do I need to provide?

You will need to supply some or all of the following details:

  • your full name (as it appears on your passport)
  • your date of birth
  • your gender
  • your nationality
  • your passport number
  • your passport expiry date
  • the country that issued your passport
  • your country of residence

Additionally, when travelling to the US, you will need to provide:

  • the destination address of your first night’s stay
  • Alien Registration Number (Green Card) for those who have US residency
  • Traveler Redress Number if you have one (this enables travellers who have experienced problems entering the US to avoid future difficulties).

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.

What happens to my information?

The information you provide is sent securely to the necessary government authorities. Some governments require us to provide them with information from flight bookings, which will contain additional passenger details to those listed above.

Legal statement for US flights

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 provided 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

Legal statement for flights operated by OpenSkies

In accordance with Article L232-6 of French Internal Security Code, please be informed that air carriers may transmit reservation/checking and boarding data collected from their passengers (PNR/API) to the French national public services and competent authorities for the purposes and under conditions as defined in the Decret N°2014-1095 dated 26/09/2014.

How to provide Advance Passenger Information

You can add Advance Passenger Information to your booking on using Manage My Booking. If there is any information you need to provide, you'll see a red exclamation mark against the passenger information section at the top of the page.

Add Advance Passenger Information

collapsedshowEntering Argentina (US, Canadian and Australian citizens)

If you're a US, Canadian or Australian citizen travelling to Argentina you will need to pay a Reciprocity Fee online before you travel. It is not possible to pay this fee when you enter the country. On arrival, you will then need to present a printed receipt at Immigration Control who will check and register it.

Find out more and apply for Argentina Reciprocity Fee [Spanish only]