Is your passport valid for travel?

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A passport on a map backgroundPassport validity has come to the fore in recent months, particularly as the school holidays commenced and many more people started to travel abroad, often for the first time post Brexit and post the pandemic.

The issue has become so topical that Which? and ABTA have prepared information on the topic.

Why have the UK’s Passport rules changed?

Post Brexit the UK is no longer part of the EU and is considered a third county. This means that passport rules relating to those with British passports have changed when travelling to the EU and many have been caught out in recent months.

Before you book travel to the EU you should make sure your passport complies with entry requirements for the country you are travelling to. This is also important given the delays which have been reported in the press with regard to the length of time it is currently taking to obtain a passport. The current estimate is approximately 10 weeks although some people have obtained passports much quicker.

The best place to check passport requirements is on the travel advice section of the Gov.UK website

Foreign travel advice – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

What are the New UK PAssport rules?

In summary, a British passport must have been issued in the last 10 years at the time of entry and be valid for at least three months on the date you leave the EU.

The issue with regard to the 10 year period appears to have arisen as “unspent” time on a passport was added to a new passport at the time of renewal. This practice ceased in 2018.

If you are a non-British passport holder then the best place to check entry requirements is with the embassy of the country you are travelling to.

If you are travelling to Ireland, your passport should be valid and in date. As Ireland and the UK are part of the Common Travel Area technically British nationals don’t need a passport to travel to Ireland. However, your travel carrier may have different requirements with regard to ID which should be checked and it is advised you take your passport with you.

If something goes wrong with your UK PAssport

If you have been denied entry to an EU county due to validity of your passport, it may not be possible to claim compensation under a travel insurance policy for example as it is your responsibility to ensure your travel documents are in order.

On the other hand, if you have been denied boarding by an airline as they have interpreted the rules incorrectly you may be able to seek compensation provided you have supporting evidence in respect of the airline’s error.

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