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2023 holidays: Don’t get caught out by these post-Brexit passport rules

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The travel industry may be back in full swing after pandemic lockdowns, but Brits heading to Europe should urgently check their passports meet revised rules.

As countries around the globe have opened up to tourism again following the Covid shutdown, Brits will be keen to travel abroad for some sunshine, fun and adventure.

However, the post-Brexit landscape has resulted in amended rules for British passport holders heading to Europe.

And with Europe being the UK’s most popular holiday destination, it’s essential you check your passport and understand the rules before heading off on your break to avoid being denied boarding.

According to travel association ABTA, holidaymakers need to meet passport requirements relating to both the date of issue and the date of expiry.

Passport rules

British passport holders travelling to countries in the EU (except Ireland) as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City are now subject to two main passport validity requirements, which are independent of each other:

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter a country
  • Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.

Essentially, anyone who had extra months added to their current passport when they last renewed should check as they could be up to 10 years and nine months old, meaning they would not meet the rule of being less than 10 years old when entering the EU.

ABTA gave this example to help:

A passenger entering the EU on 21 July 2023 and returning to the UK on 4 August 2023 would need to have a passport that was issued less than 10 years before 21 July 2023 and is valid for at least three months after 4 August 2023.

It added that holidaymakers should visit the FCDO travel advice page to find the passport rules for the country you’re planning to visit.

Further, if you need to renew – do it early. The Passport Office is advising people to allow up to 10 weeks for applications and renewals from the UK.

Last month passport workers went on strike which could have a knock-on effect on passport processing times.

‘Save yourself the stress’

Graeme Buck, director of communications at ABTA, said: “ABTA’s message is don’t delay, check today. Most of our favourite European destinations, including Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal, now have different passport validity requirements for British passport holders.

“So, if you’re planning to travel to Europe this summer, save yourself the stress later on by digging out your passport now, following our handy guide to check if it will be valid, and making sure you renew promptly if needed. And, if you’re not sure if it’s valid, check our passport pages on the ABTA website.”

Related: Passport fees hiked

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