I am aware that the press release which was issued earlier this week has caused a lot of confusion. I am very sorry that this has happened. It was certainly not the intention. Let me reassure all St Helenians wherever they are that they will still be able to travel to and from St Helena freely, as they do now. However, in the time since commercial flights to St Helena began, it has been reported that a small number of people have experienced problems at the airline check-in desk. Some people have been asked for documents which they do not have and, whilst the problems have been resolved in most cases, regrettably some people were refused a boarding card and could not travel.
The Immigration Section of the Police Directorate have been investigating the cause of these problems and have been working on solutions to try to ensure that everyone has as smooth a journey to St Helena as possible. In doing so, it has become clear that the guidance given to airlines is extremely complex and is causing confusion. We are working hard to resolve these underlying issues as quickly as possible but this may take a few weeks. We will also be looking at whether the system can be simpler going forward. In the meantime, any St Helenians travelling on a British passport to St Helena (rather than a British Overseas Territory passport issued by St Helena) are strongly encouraged to carry documentary proof of their St Helenian status. A letter confirming St Helenian status can be obtained free of charge from either the Immigration Office via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 22626 (00290 22626 from overseas), or from the Immigration desk on their departure from St Helena.
Passengers who encounter difficulties at the check-in desk can contact the duty Immigration Officer, St Helena Immigration, on mobile number: 00290 51442 for assistance.
Please note that although St Helenians are not required to have medical insurance in order to travel to St Helena, those who have been away from the Island for some time are strongly advised to have insurance covering overseas medical treatment as, if this is required, it can be extremely costly and is not provided by SHG for the first six months.
Governor Lisa Honan
3 May 2018