Two weeks after the Foreign Office confirmed requirements for passport validity for EU travel, there is still uncertainty about whether a document will be accepted.
One reader has contacted us to say that they were instructed by Brussels Airlines that they needed a minimum of six months left on their passport to fly to Belgium, but only had just over four months remaining.
Until the Government clarified EU requirements, many airlines were issuing incorrect advice to their customers and often refusing boarding without legal grounds to do so. This conflicting advice has been unsettling – another reader was concerned that a passport issued in March this year might not be valid for entry to the EU.
How to check your passport’s validity
Requirements vary according to the country you are visiting. Some require at least six months from the date of arrival (for example, Turkey), others stipulate that it needs to be valid only for the duration of your visit, or until the day after you return home (the US, Australia).
You can check requirements on the Foreign Office Travel Advice page, or with the relevant consulate or embassy.
Since Brexit, rules have changed for entry to the Schengen Area. Member states now require British passports to be:
- Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’) and
- valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months from a previous and unexpired passport may have been added to its expiry date.
These extra months are not considered valid, so you should ignore your printed expiry date and consider it instead to be 10 years after the date of issue.
It’s worth noting that other countries outside the Schengen Area that require three months’ validity (for example Morocco) may not subscribe to the same rule regarding added months.
If your passport doesn’t meet minimum requirements, you should apply for a renewal, factoring in plenty of time for the current backlog and associated delays.
Do you have a question about travel? Email us: [email protected]