Passports and visas

Without wishing to state the obvious, do make sure that where ever you choose for your trip is somewhere you can get in to!

For British nationals, this is rarely a problem, as long as you have a valid passport, but if in doubt a good place to start is the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.fco.gov.uk) which offers country by country advice.

Of the main European sailing destinations, most  are in the EU.  The exceptions are Croatia (expected to join in 2013) and Turkey.

Visiting the EU: Most British nationals (including ordinary passport holders) can enter without impediment on production of a passport.  For stays of up to 90 days your passport must be valid only up to the end of your stay (though I wouldn’t cut it that fine – volcanic eruptions do happen)!!

Visiting Croatia: Most British nationals (including ordinary passport holders) can enter for up to 90 days without a visa.  Technically your passport must be valid only up to the end of your stay but I would suggest you ensure you have at least 90 days to avoid any hold ups on entry.  You must alsobe able to demonstrate you have enough funds for your stay which is taken to be 100€ per person per day.  Waving some credit/debit cards seems to suffice.

Note that though there is no visa, you will be charged a tourist tax of 1€ per person per day, collected by the yacht charter company at check in.

Visiting Turkey: British nationals need a visa but this is best obtained on arrival – it’s about £68 in advance from their embassy but only £10 if bought when you arrive, so it’s a bit of a no brainer. You need to have at least 6 months remaining on your passport.  If you prefer you can pay in Euros or Dollars but the exchange rates used are interesting – on my last visit it was £10 or 15€.

You may also want to take a £10 note for each member of your party.  I once watched a couple offer a £20 note for the two of them, only for the official to demand a second.  He claimed everyone had to pay separately and he wasn’t able to give change (despite holding a wad of £10 notes)! The couple walked back down the queue until they found someone able to change their £20 for two tenners!!

Urgent UK Passport Applications

If you do find your passport is about to expire at the last minute, UK nationals have the option of a one week or one day service.  This requires attendance in person at one of the six regional passport offices and you must get an appointment first, so the one day service isn’t qute what it says.  It’s quite a slick service provided you turn up with all the necessary information but in the case of the one day service you then have to wait around to collect your new passport.   All in all an experience to avoided !