The U.S. Embassy in London reported last week that there are no more courtesy passes available to the House of Commons for the remainder of the summer. But travelers who plan to be in London after the House reconvenes in mid-October should mail their requests now, since some fall bookings have already been made.
A recent story in the Travel section described popular tourist attractions in London and mentioned that anyone who wanted to see the House of Commons in session -- but didn't want to queue up without a guarantee of entry -- could write to the embassy for free tickets. But the demand has been so great that all passes have been booked through July 25 -- when the House is expected to begin its summer recess.
The Protocol Unit of the ambassador's office is alloted four passes daily for the ambassador's official use. Advance requests from U.S. visitors are logged by name and date, and written notification of booking is then mailed. If a ticket is not picked up at the embassy by 11 a.m. on the day booked, it is released to the first person who inquires. (Sometimes a booking is bumped without notice if the ambassador needs a pass, according to an embassy official.)
Replies to requests for fall bookings will not be sent immediately, but the requests will be logged in order of receipt. The mailing address is Protocol Unit, American Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London SW1A 1AE.