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Bits: get 2400 Avios from Tesco Wine, biometric passports for the US, Gett taxi app in 25 UK cities

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News in brief:

Get 1,000 Clubcard points with £100 Tesco Wine order

TODAY (Sunday) is the last day to take advantage of the current Tesco Wine discount code worth 1,000 Clubcard points (2,400 Avios or 2,500 Virgin Flying Club miles) when you spend £100.

In summary, you will get 1,000 Clubcard points using code XX44GG for a £100 order via the Tesco Wine site here. The offer ends tonight unless all of the codes have been used by then but everything was still working OK at 9pm last night.

US immigration now insisting on biometric passports

If you are one of those people who does not renew your passport until the last minute, you should note that US immigration is now insisting on biometric passports as of last month.

From October 2006, all UK passports have been biometric.  However, anyone with a passport issued between May 2006 and October 2006 may still believe that their existing document is valid for US travel when it is not.  If you have had an older passport extended you may also be impacted.

Holders of old-style passports will need to obtain a full US Visa before travelling – or, more easily, apply for a new passport.

Gett now in 25 UK cities – and get £10 off

Gett, the London taxi ordering app, has been quietly expanding into other parts of the UK over the last year.

According to a press release I received on Friday, it now operates in 24 cities outside London.  

Your app will also get you a car in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, Milton Keynes, Slough, Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Brighton, Hull, Bradford, Coventry, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Leicester and Sheffield.  The app is therefore more useful than you may think if you are not London based.

Comments (45)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • JamesWag says:

    I don’t think anyone should be having a problem with their non-biometric passport given that to enter the US you must have in excess of 6 months until expiry. Anyone whose passport expires at the latest date (for a non-biometric passport) will already have less than 6 months on it so would be denied entry on that basis anyway 🙂

    • Yuff says:

      It is possible to enter the US with less than 6 months left on you passport. I did it twice last October, as long as you have a valid ESTA you will get in.
      If you are using theur automated entry system it will flag up you have less than 6 months on your ESTA because the ESTA cannot be valid for longer than your passport. When that happened I had to have my passport checked by a US official who let me in with no issues.

    • Fenny says:

      There have been several reports in the last week of people being turned away at the airport because they don’t have biometric passports. You would think that they would have checked, but clearly, whatever checks they thought they had done were insufficient. Cue lots of wailing and posting on FB about the inhumanity!

      • Callum says:

        Indeed – what complete and utter morons they are for thinking a valid UK passport with a valid ESTA attached to it could possibly be admissible for entry to the US…

        • Fenny says:

          You don’t check the travel requirements and make sure your documents are still valid before travelling? I always check my ESTA before I go to the US by logging into the site. If, as has been reported, there are warnings about non-biometric passports not being valid any more, this is the reason for checking.

          But I suppose if we don’t feel that our travel documents are our responsibility, that’s fine.

          • harry says:

            No point letting your passport go that ‘low’ in any case

            Plenty of other countries do enforce the 6 month rule

            Plus when you renew the UK passport, you get the unused months (as pointed out!) ISTR up to 12 months

            Only laziness would stop you renewing a year ahead in Jan/ Feb/ March (if not travelling)!

          • Alan says:

            It’s not 12 or six but nine, Harry – see the link I posted! 😛

    • Nathan says:

      The six month requirement was removed some time ago.

  • Scott says:

    What happens if you have less than 6 months left on your passport?
    Mine runs out sometime next year so I’m fine for now.

    Do you apply for a new one 6-12 months early, an extension or what?

    • mark says:

      You get upto 6 months added onto your passport so a maximum total of 10 years and 6 months.

      • Alan says:

        Up to nine, not six, months can be added –

        • harry says:

          Yep, starting to get a bit busy now (May-Aug), don’t leave it too late if you need to renew. Jan/ Feb is ideal, I’ve found, what with the 3 kids needing new passports every 5 years, we seem to constantly have one expiry in mind etc – but with Jan/ Feb renewals (even by post) you get the new passport back a week or so later.

        • mark says:

          Thanks for that Alan, they must have changed it from when i renewed mine…

          • Alan says:

            I knew I’d got more than 6/12 added on to mine, that’s what made me search out a link 🙂

  • Boris says:

    Online renewals are very efficient.

    • Adey says:

      Yup – did mine online a couple of weeks ago.

      As a UK citizen (adult) all I had to do was post a couple of photos and the old passport after completing a (trivial) online form. No faffing around for countersignees etc. Got the new passport back in just over a week.


      • Fenny says:

        Yes, the removal of the requirement for counter-signatories is very handy. And if you’ve recently renewed your photo driving licence, you can use the photo they already have stored. My last passport renewal was very quick and efficient. More so than renewing my ESTA!

  • Ianmac says:

    My passport, was issued in Aug 2006 and is biometric. The 6 month rule does not apply to UK citizens btw.

    • John says:

      So you may have been affected by the problem where ESTAs were wrongly cancelled

  • Concerto says:

    I wonder what the next set of anal restrictions that the Americans will impose are going to be. Eye ball tagging like in the film Minority Report? What do they do with those billions of fingerprint files? What did they do with all those green bits of paper (I-94), which must be stuffed in some warehouse somewhere?

    • Worzel says:

      Not an issue for me, been there once, East and West, no need to return 🙂 .

    • Mel says:

      Lots of countries collect “bits of paper’ when you enter or exit. You need to get out more.

    • Imbruce says:

      Who knows what will happen if Donald dump becomes president. Maybe he will only allow
      white middle aged people?

      • Worzel says:

        Imbruce, should Donald Duck get in, I appear to fit the criteria- however, it remains doubtful that I’ll return, 🙂 .

    • John says:

      Given that people eagerly agree to any new requirements the US sets for visitors, I think the Americans can do whatever they want. Inexplicably, the introduction of US-VISIT and ESTAs increased the desire of my acquaintances to travel to the USA.

      Like Worzel I’ve been twice (pre 9/11) and I don’t have any strong desire to go again. There are plenty of places left in the world that I want to visit, which don’t require a spurious tourist tax/fee and don’t want my fingerprints or any information which I would be happier if they didn’t have.

      • harry says:

        heh heh! I fall in the Worzel camp as well. I went a few times with work & usually tacked on a weekend to look around – maybe 10 trips in total, LA, San Francisco, NY, Detroit, Boston, Houston, Dallas, Miami etc.

        No desire to return whatsoever! I can’t really see what the big attraction is for Brits, but you can’t deny the stats & popularity – about 4 million Brits go to USA pa.

        Europe on our doorsteps/ SE Asia & Australasia – much more ‘me’ 🙂

        • Callum says:

          Because the US offers countless things Europe and SE Asia/Australasia doesn’t? I’ve never found an area in Europe, SE Asia or Australasia that I’ve found as spectacular as many of the US national parks. New Zealand seems to have a few places that would rival them but is also 12,000 miles away!

    • Rob says:

      Remember that, before they pulled it due to an outcry, India was insisting that anyone planning to go had to visit the Embassy in London for biometric fingerprinting BEFORE a visa was issued.

      • John says:

        True, but India would really have seen a fall in visitor numbers if they didn’t backtrack.

        There has been plenty of outcry against the US policy but they don’t care / just ignore it.

    • John says:

      Fingerprint records are kept indefinitely, and whenever your passport is used to enter, the computer matches it against the previous fingerprints you gave.

      They are also matched to the fingerprint records of everyone who is currently denied entry to the US, in case they happen to have obtained a new passport/citizenship and are trying to enter the US when they shouldn’t be.

      The bits of paper are kept in a warehouse in Kentucky or something. You can request the info from USCBP if you want. Of course a few will have been lost over the years.

  • Kipto says:

    Well without wishing to open a political debate, i can’t see anything wrong with the US choosing to prevent individuals with certain criminal convictions entering their country. Nothing wrong with drug dealers etc being denied access. I only wish we did that in the UK.

    • mark2 says:


    • John says:

      I agree, but currently the US is only able to get the criminal records of Canadian residents. For a British UK resident, they rely on you being honest, although they obviously want to get access to police records from all over the world eventually.

      Wanting fingerprints and an entry fee is mainly to enforce immigration policy, although if you happen to have been arrested for a crime in the US when you used a different name/passport this may also be flagged up.

  • Chris says:

    My gripe is why the UK don’t reciprocate to American visitors?

    If we’re forced to fill in an online form and pay 14 dollars- why don’t we expect the same?
    Sure make it easy as possible- but a minor cost must also be imposed on American travellers too

    • James says:

      Because we are not children.

    • Leo says:

      I have to agree….would pay for a few nurses and teachers etc. Ultimately UK tourists to the US are a guaranteef source of income via ESTA.

      • Brian says:

        US tourists to the UK are also a guaranteed source of income – via hotels, restaurants, tours, transport etc etc. That’s no reason not to impose a fee, of course…

    • Alan says:

      They still get hit with a chunky APD hit when they leave 😉

      TBH I find immigration in the USA absolutely dead easy now with Global Entry – the TSA Pre that comes with it also make things much easier for internal flights too. I wish UK immigration worked as well as GE (esp when it comes to connecting at LHR – spent 25 min queuing last time to connect onto a UK flight as they had only one person doing both EU and non-EU passports).

    • John says:

      The EU (Schengen at least) is thinking about it.

      Reciprocity just means that each government is hurting the citizens of the other country. It doesn’t solve anything and the government officials responsible will remain exempt (being diplomats).

  • Eleanor Livingstine says:

    Both mine and my husband’s Esta’s were cancelled, both being only six months and both with new UK Biometric passports!
    I sent an email to U.S Homeland Security and still waiting on reply. Has anyone else had this problem?

    • Adrian says:

      I had an old passport, replaced this year with a new biometric one and therefore a new esta.

      Does everyone know that when you get a new passport your old esta is automatically cancelled? I didn’t and had to fill it out on my mobile at Heathrow, luckily I was approved! 3 weeks ago I had an email from cbp telling me that my esta had been cancelled, this was confusing as i’d just got my new passport and esta. I’m 99% sure the email is in relation to my old passport and esta as when I log on with my new reference number my new esta is still valid! CBP don’t provide a reference number in the emails they send so this doesn’t help matters.

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