Foreign Office updates passport advice, let’s hope this clears up the confusion

By Linsey McNeill
13/05/2022
Home » Foreign Office updates passport advice, let’s hope this clears up the confusion

The Foreign Office has updated its advice for travel to the EU to make the rules around passports clearer.

It comes after dozens of British holidaymakers were denied boarding by airlines because of a misunderstanding of the post-Brexit rules.

The latest update should make it easier for British travellers to work out if they need to renew their passport before heading to the EU.

What are the post-Brexit passport rules?

There are two new passport rules for travel to the EU since the UK left the European Union.

The first is that passports must be no more than 10 years old to enter the EU.

Some passports issued before October 2018 had additional months added if they were renewed before the previous one expired, which means some people have passports valid for up to 10 years and nine months.

Travellers whose passports were renewed before October 2018 are advised to check the issue date of their passport to make sure it will be no more than 10 years old when they enter a country in the EU.

The 10-year rule applies to children as well as adults, so their passports will always comply with this rule since they expire anyway after five years.

The second rule is that a passport must still be valid for at least three months after the date the traveller plans to leave the EU.

This second rule has caused the most confusion.

Initially the Foreign Office stated passports must be valid for at least six months, not three. Although it corrected the error last year, some people still believe they must have six months left on their passports.

Also, to add to the confusion, until yesterday’s update the Foreign Office was stating that for travel to some Schengen zone countries passports may need to be less than 10 years old for the whole of the visit, and that the three months left at the end must be within 10 years of the issue date.

This was incorrect since the two rules are separate from each other.

So, to be clear, the issue date of the passport is only relevant for entry to the EU, the expiry date is what you need to check to work out if there will still be at least three months left at the end of a trip.

You can read the Foreign Office update for Spain here. The Foreign Office has also updated its passport advice for travel to other countries in the EU plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City.

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