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Check the Validity of your Passport before Half Term

Categories: British Consular, News, Public Service Announcements, Travel and holidays, Vacations
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The British Consulate is advising families to check their travel documents validity before travelling this half term especially if you are travelling to North America.  In April this year the US goverment, under some new anti terror regulations brought in the strict need to have an electronic passport.

These are the rules according to the US customs and Border Protection:

as of April 1, 2016, you must have an e-passport to use the VWP. An e-Passport is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip. You can readily identify an e-Passport, because it has a unique international symbol on the cover.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Authorization via ESTA does not determine whether a traveler is admissible to the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers determine admissibility upon travelers’ arrival. The ESTA application collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, though it is recommended that travelers apply as soon as they begin preparing travel plans or prior to purchasing airline tickets.

Additionally Canada has also introduced a new rules from September:

Entry rules into Canada has changed for visitors from “visa-exempt” countries. They will be in full effect after September 30, 2016.

New rule does not apply to Canadian or USA citizens, and travellers with a valid Canadian visa.

If this applies to you, please remember to check and apply, before you travel to Canada, and based on the passport that you plan to travel with, as per

“The rules are part of Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), established in 2011 to facilitate travel between the U.S. and Canada. A result of the eTA was an effort to more closely scrutinize foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries.

Visit the Government of Canada website here to determine if an eTA is needed and/or to apply through an online process. Please note, a passport, credit card, and email address are necessary to apply.”

It is always a good idea to make sure you have the right documentation for your destination and so don’t be caught out this half term.



Postcard from the isle of Sal, Cape Verde

Categories: Postcard from, Vacations
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by Dee Bodle

Fabulous beaches are what initially put Cape Verde on the map for us as a holiday destination. After visiting Boa Vista (another island) last year we were not disappointed. This year, we decided to visit the island of Sal.

We found that Sal has a coastline of Caribbean-white bays and golden dunes. It has trade winds, which means that water sports like wind and kite surfing are readily available and great to watch. There is a flag system in place if you want to swim in the ocean – red means stay well away, yellow says take care, and green means you’re okay. There wasn’t a green flag all the time we were there, but we did have some fantastic waves that we could encounter, as swimming was prohibited.

We went to Sal in late February, and the temperature averaged 26 degrees. In Boa Vista in September last year, the temperature reached over 30 degrees. The breeze from the Sahara, however, keeps things comfortable in the hotter months, and rainfall is a real rarity.

PalmsBoth of the islands are principally beach resorts with long stretches of white sand and an abundance of water sports. All our needs were catered for as our resorts on both islands were all-inclusive. Boa Vista and Sal are islands for beach lovers and relaxation — you can visit most of most of the island’s sights and attractions in half a day.  Santa Maria is the main tourist area on Sal. At night, there is a lively atmosphere with a good choice of bars and restaurants.

Shop-webSal is the most developed of all the Cape Verde Islands regarding tourism, yet it has a very barren landscape. A large percentage of visitors come to Sal for water sports, which is hardly surprising as Sal’s long sandy beaches and turquoise water make it a beautiful playground for water sports enthusiasts.

Cape Verde does not have and abundance of stuff to see and do, but if you just want the perfect place to relax in the sun, where you can enjoy long walks along the coastline, you will not be disappointed.