Passports are an essential when it comes to travel all over the world. They are the ticket to tickets, and flights, and the key to some fantastic holidays. However, as Brexit has begun to take its impact, there are a fair few questions, confused consumers, delays, and changed rules that are causing some issues. One of the biggest points of confusion being the question: Is my passport valid for travel since Brexit?
Though there have been rules in place since before Brexit surrounding expiration on passports, changes from the EU have made it more complicated and caused some delays in getting emergency extensions or being able to travel to Europe as we would have before.
Is My Passport Valid For Travel To My Destination?
It can be easy to just look at the expiration date, see that you still have time, and call it good to go on holiday. However, depending on your destination, you will be required to have a certain amount of time left before expiration on your passport in order to enter the country.
This is a point which has caused a lot of contention of late, with those rules surrounding European countries changing since Brexit took action.
This can range anywhere from being valid for the length of your stay, to needing 6 months left on your passport, not including a 6-month extension that you can get on your passport in the UK.
Some of the countries that will allow you in as long as your passport is valid for the length of your stay include Australia, the US, and Canada. Generally, if you need a visa to enter a country, it will probably require at least 6 months before expiration on your passport, but the best way to check this is to visit the FCDO Travel Advice page where you can find your destination and it’s requirements for travel.
It’s important to pay attention to the specific requirements when you do this, for example, Switzerland requires you to have 6 months left on your passport from the point of entry. However, in some cases, what people are realising after they’ve booked, is that some countries, such as EU countries, are requiring 6 months left before expiration from return travel, not entry travel.
An example of this would be New Zealand, that requires your passport is valid for at least 1 month upon exit.
How Has This Changed for EU Countries?
Whereas before Brexit the rules for EU travel were much simpler, now the things that apply to UK citizens may not be valid in EU travel, though it can vary from country to country. This is things like extensions that you can apply to a passport close to expiration.
This is where we highly encourage looking into it and discussing these things with your travel agent, since they will be able to guide you if you’re unsure about specific requirements.
This differs from country to country, but for example, if you decide to travel to Norway, you must have at least 6 months left on any adult or child passports. However, if you renew your current passport before your old one expires, and extra months are added as a result, extra months added within the past 10 years may not count towards the 6 months required for a European country.
This is where it gets tricky and confusing. For example, a passport that is set to expire in February 2022, but has had a 6-month extension, would actually only be valid for EU travel until August 2021, because these extras don’t count.
The easiest way to check this is, if your passport is over 10 years old, then you cannot use it to travel to the EU.
What If I Need an Emergency Extension?
You can apply for an urgent renewal or new passport within 3 weeks. If you are getting your first passport or you do not need the passport within 3 weeks, then you cannot apply for a new or renewed passport urgently. After the appropriate meeting or appointment, you should receive your new passport within a week.
However, at the moment, there has been a lot of delays surrounding passport emergency applications. Where you could apply for a premium service that means getting your passport in 2 days, the turnaround has increased to about a week, with July 9th being the earliest date for emergency passports.
Which then creates an issue for people who book a holiday, but don’t have a valid passport for their destination and cannot get an emergency renewal in time. This could cause complications, or worse if they don’t discover this until they arrive at the airport and aren’t allowed to enter the country.
The most important thing for consumers when it comes to the question ‘is my passport valid for travel?’, is to keep well informed, always check your passport well before travel, and book with a trusted travel agent and PTS member. Always check the requirements for your destinations, and don’t be shy to keep in regular contact with your travel agent, they’re an expert and from the moment you book, they are there to assist you and make sure you have the best holiday possible.
So, when you’re booking your next holiday, check your passport and the requirements, and get in contact with one of our lovely PTS members. Or, if you need assistance choosing which to book with, you can contact PTS at 0207 190 9988.
And if you would like to learn more about your consumer protection or Brexit travel, take a look at our pages.