Is my passport valid for travel to Europe?

If your passport is more than ten years old or there is less than three months before it expires, you may not be able to use it to travel to countries within the EU. The rules came into effect after Brexit, with Ireland being the only exception. Here’s what you need to know.

Main photo: Alamy

What documents do I need to travel from the UK?

A valid passport is essential for travelling outside of the UK. For travel to the EU and EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), it needs to be less than ten years old when you enter the country and have at least three months left on it the day after you leave. The only exception is if you are travelling to Ireland — which is part of the Common Travel Area with the UK — where you can travel up to the day your passport expires.

Depending on where you are travelling to, for what purpose and for how long, you may also need to get a visa. After Brexit, UK nationals are only permitted to stay in EU countries for a maximum of 90 days out of 180, after which a visa or other entry permit may be needed. You will need to check the entry requirements for each individual country you are visiting.

If you are planning to drive or hire a car, you will need to take your driving licence. And if you only have a paper version of the licence, or your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, you may need to apply for an International Driving Licence, which costs £5.50 from the Post Office. Those taking their own cars across the border will also need relevant insurance and vehicle registration details as well as a UK sticker on the vehicle.

When travelling to EU countries, you may also want to apply for and take your UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC). This free benefit replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for most UK nationals after Brexit. It entitles you to the same access to public medical care as residents. In some cases, having the card with you is a requisite of ensuring your travel insurance is valid.

Can you travel to Europe without a passport from the UK?

In most cases, you will need your passport to travel to Europe. Ireland is the only exception, although the government still advises taking your passport with you, and airlines will typically insist on it.

What if I lose my passport?

If you have lost your passport, or you do not have time to get a new one before you travel, you may be able to apply for an emergency travel document. These cost £100 and you will need to attend a British embassy in person after you have applied online. The document contains your exact itinerary and if you decide to change your plans at the last minute you will need a new document.

Can you travel with an expired passport within Europe?

In theory, yes, because land borders within the Schengen area are open and ID checks are only carried out in exceptional circumstances. For example, the Spanish government has said that its citizens may enter the country on an expired passport or ID after its authenticity has been checked; however, a valid travel document is still required to leave the country. In the case of the UK, your passport will be checked at all border controls and you will need to make sure it’s valid for travel.

Passport control at Heathrow Airport

Passport control at Heathrow Airport (Getty Images)

How long do you need on your passport to travel to Spain?

Like most countries in the EU, Spain requires those travelling on a British passport to have at least three months remaining after the day you plan to leave. You also need to check that it is less than ten years old when you enter Spain.

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How long do you need on your passport to travel to Greece?

For Greece, the usual EU passport validity rules apply. This means it needs to be less than ten years old when you enter the country and have at least three months left on it the day after you leave.

How long do you need on your passport to travel to Portugal?

EU passport validity rules also apply in Portugal. So your passport needs to be less than ten years old when you enter the country and have at least three months left on it the day after you leave.

How long do you need on your passport to travel to the USA?

For entry into the USA, your passport needs to be valid for the duration of your stay although it doesn’t need to have any additional validity on it. However, you may need an Esta or visa for entry.

How long do you need on your passport to travel to Turkey?

Turkey requires UK passport holders to have at least six months remaining on their passports from the day they arrive. It also needs to have a full blank page for the entry and exit stamps.

Take me there

Wanting to visit Europe but yet to book your trip? Here are the best packages from TUI Holidays* and Expedia*. And if you’re still unsure of where you want to go or what type of holiday to book, get in touch here and one of the Designer Travel experts will be in contact to help you arrange your perfect tailor-made break.

Here’s a selection of some of the best European tour itineraries from our Times Travel partners.

The days of easy-breezy travel to the EU have changed. Here are the new travel rules you need to know

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UPDATED: Where can I travel in Europe? A list of COVID entry rules for every European country

As the world opens back up, travel restrictions continue to change. Here's the latest news.

Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, France, Malta, Portugal, Finland, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Cyprus, Austria and Greece no longer have any COVID-19 travel restrictions for visitors.

Passengers flying in the EU no longer need to wear masks in airports or aboard flights. Some countries have chosen to ignore this ruling and still require masks. Check the rules before you fly here.

Visitors to Belgium from outside the EU no longer need to show any COVID-19 paperwork to enter.

Masks are no longer mandatory in Spain and mainland Portugal, except on public transport.

This article is updated regularly, but rules can change quickly. So please check official government advice before travelling.

Albania

  • There are currently no COVID-19 travel restrictions for those wishing to visit Albania.

Andorra

  • Travel to and from the country is open but access to Andorra requires passing through either Spain or France, so check their travel restrictions, too, before planning your trip.

More information here.

Austria

All COVID-19 entry restrictions have been lifted for those visiting Austria.

While face masks are no longer required in most parts of the country, you must still wear a FFP2 face mask on public transport and in pharmacies in Vienna.

Belarus

All travel to Belarus should be avoided, due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws and the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

It’s still possible to travel to Belarus by air under certain restrictions, but land travel for leisure is currently banned.

There are currently no COVID-19 travel restrictions for entering Belarus.

More information here.

Belgium

  • Belgium have now scrapped all their COVID=19 travel restrictions for all visitors.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tourists can now visit Bosnia and Herzegovina with no COVID-19 travel restrictions.

People now only need to wear mask in healthcare facilities.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina border police are publishing regular updates about foreign travel here.

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria no longer requires visitors to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter the country.

More information here.

Croatia

  • All travellers may enter Croatia without any COVID-19 restrictions.

More information here.

Cyprus

All COVID-19 entry requirements for Cyprus have been dropped.

You no longer need to wear a face mask indoors, except in high-risk areas such as hospitals public transport and pharmacies.

More information here.

Czech Republic

  • There are no longer any COVID-19 entry restrictions for EU or Non-EU travellers visiting Czech Republic.

Denmark

Denmark has dropped all travel restrictions for international tourists.

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Rules may be re-introduced at short notice for high risk countries. The government says it has a ‘handbrake’ it can activate if concerning variants emerge.

More information here.

Estonia

  • Estonia has scrapped all COVID-19 travel restrictions for visitors from every country.

Finland

Travel to Finland is now restriction-free for all visitors. Visitors from the EU, Schengen travel areas and green list countries can enter Finland with no travel restrictions.

The Finnish Border Guard gives advice on cross-border traffic by phone and email. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English on weekdays between 8.00 and 16.00 at +358 295 420 100. Questions can also be sent by email to rajavartiolaitos@raja.fi.

More information here.

France

All visitors can now enter France without any COVID paperwork.

It is no longer mandatory to wear a mask in healthcare settings thought it is still encouraged.

Germany

Connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.

All travellers can now enter Germany without showing any COVID-19 paperwork. This is expected to be in place until 31 January 2023.

However, due to a lack of a reciprocity agreement between the two countries, this doesn’t apply to those travelling from the People’s Republic of China who still need to provide an essential reason for their entry to Germany.

Anyone over the age of 14 must wear a FFP2 facemask on long distance trains in Germany. Children aged 6-13 also have to wear a facemask but it doesn’t have to be a FFP2.

Greece

All travellers can enter Greece without any COVID-19 restrictions.

If you test positive whilst you’re there, you no longer have to quarantine. Though if you want to take public transport whilst infected you will need to wear an FFP2 or a KN95 face mask.

Masks are now only mandatory in healthcare settings and on urban public transport.

Hungary

All travellers can visit Hungary without any COVID-19 restrictions.

Masks are no longer mandatory except for in hospitals and other health care venues.

More information here.

Iceland

Iceland has dropped all domestic and border restrictions. This means that no restrictions will be enforced at the border and all passengers will be able to enter Iceland whether they are vaccinated or not.

Ireland

Travellers who plan to enter Ireland are no longer subject to entry requirements after the authorities decided to abolish all the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19.

Though mandatory mask wearing has been scrapped, the Irish government advises that masks continue to be worn on public transport.

More information here.

Italy

Visitors to Italy are no longer required to show any COVID-19 paperwork to enter.

Although not mandatory, masks are still recommended at large indoor and crowded outdoor events.

More information here.

Kosovo

  • There are currently no covid-19 travel restrictions for those wishing to visit Kosovo.
  • Whilst in Kosovo, you must wear a mask on public transport and in all indoor public places as well as respecting one metre social distancing rules.
  • More information here.

Latvia

  • All travellers are now welcome in Latvia, regardless of vaccination status, and with no need to take a COVID test.

More information here.

Liechtenstein

There are currently no COVID-19 restrictions for travellers visiting Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein follows Switzerland’s travel advice, so make sure you check their restrictions at the time of travel.

UPDATED: Where can I travel in Europe? A list of COVID entry rules for every European country

As the world opens back up, travel restrictions continue to change. Here's the latest news.

Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, France, Malta, Portugal, Finland, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Cyprus, Austria and Greece no longer have any COVID-19 travel restrictions for visitors.

Passengers flying in the EU no longer need to wear masks in airports or aboard flights. Some countries have chosen to ignore this ruling and still require masks. Check the rules before you fly here.

Visitors to Belgium from outside the EU no longer need to show any COVID-19 paperwork to enter.

Masks are no longer mandatory in Spain and mainland Portugal, except on public transport.

This article is updated regularly, but rules can change quickly. So please check official government advice before travelling.

Albania

  • There are currently no COVID-19 travel restrictions for those wishing to visit Albania.

Andorra

  • Travel to and from the country is open but access to Andorra requires passing through either Spain or France, so check their travel restrictions, too, before planning your trip.

More information here.

Austria

All COVID-19 entry restrictions have been lifted for those visiting Austria.

While face masks are no longer required in most parts of the country, you must still wear a FFP2 face mask on public transport and in pharmacies in Vienna.

Belarus

All travel to Belarus should be avoided, due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws and the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Read Post  US extends vaccine requirement for non-US travelers until January 8

It’s still possible to travel to Belarus by air under certain restrictions, but land travel for leisure is currently banned.

There are currently no COVID-19 travel restrictions for entering Belarus.

More information here.

Belgium

  • Belgium have now scrapped all their COVID=19 travel restrictions for all visitors.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tourists can now visit Bosnia and Herzegovina with no COVID-19 travel restrictions.

People now only need to wear mask in healthcare facilities.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina border police are publishing regular updates about foreign travel here.

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria no longer requires visitors to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter the country.

More information here.

Croatia

  • All travellers may enter Croatia without any COVID-19 restrictions.

More information here.

Cyprus

All COVID-19 entry requirements for Cyprus have been dropped.

You no longer need to wear a face mask indoors, except in high-risk areas such as hospitals public transport and pharmacies.

More information here.

Czech Republic

  • There are no longer any COVID-19 entry restrictions for EU or Non-EU travellers visiting Czech Republic.

Denmark

Denmark has dropped all travel restrictions for international tourists.

Rules may be re-introduced at short notice for high risk countries. The government says it has a ‘handbrake’ it can activate if concerning variants emerge.

More information here.

Estonia

  • Estonia has scrapped all COVID-19 travel restrictions for visitors from every country.

Finland

Travel to Finland is now restriction-free for all visitors. Visitors from the EU, Schengen travel areas and green list countries can enter Finland with no travel restrictions.

The Finnish Border Guard gives advice on cross-border traffic by phone and email. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English on weekdays between 8.00 and 16.00 at +358 295 420 100. Questions can also be sent by email to rajavartiolaitos@raja.fi.

More information here.

France

All visitors can now enter France without any COVID paperwork.

It is no longer mandatory to wear a mask in healthcare settings thought it is still encouraged.

Germany

Connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.

All travellers can now enter Germany without showing any COVID-19 paperwork. This is expected to be in place until 31 January 2023.

However, due to a lack of a reciprocity agreement between the two countries, this doesn’t apply to those travelling from the People’s Republic of China who still need to provide an essential reason for their entry to Germany.

Anyone over the age of 14 must wear a FFP2 facemask on long distance trains in Germany. Children aged 6-13 also have to wear a facemask but it doesn’t have to be a FFP2.

Greece

All travellers can enter Greece without any COVID-19 restrictions.

If you test positive whilst you’re there, you no longer have to quarantine. Though if you want to take public transport whilst infected you will need to wear an FFP2 or a KN95 face mask.

Masks are now only mandatory in healthcare settings and on urban public transport.

Hungary

All travellers can visit Hungary without any COVID-19 restrictions.

Masks are no longer mandatory except for in hospitals and other health care venues.

More information here.

Iceland

Iceland has dropped all domestic and border restrictions. This means that no restrictions will be enforced at the border and all passengers will be able to enter Iceland whether they are vaccinated or not.

Ireland

Travellers who plan to enter Ireland are no longer subject to entry requirements after the authorities decided to abolish all the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19.

Though mandatory mask wearing has been scrapped, the Irish government advises that masks continue to be worn on public transport.

More information here.

Italy

Visitors to Italy are no longer required to show any COVID-19 paperwork to enter.

Although not mandatory, masks are still recommended at large indoor and crowded outdoor events.

More information here.

Kosovo

  • There are currently no covid-19 travel restrictions for those wishing to visit Kosovo.
  • Whilst in Kosovo, you must wear a mask on public transport and in all indoor public places as well as respecting one metre social distancing rules.
  • More information here.

Latvia

  • All travellers are now welcome in Latvia, regardless of vaccination status, and with no need to take a COVID test.

More information here.

Liechtenstein

There are currently no COVID-19 restrictions for travellers visiting Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein follows Switzerland’s travel advice, so make sure you check their restrictions at the time of travel.

Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/travel/advice/is-my-passport-valid-for-travel-to-europe

Source https://www.euronews.com/travel/2022/10/21/what-s-the-latest-on-european-travel-restrictions

Source https://www.euronews.com/travel/2022/10/21/what-s-the-latest-on-european-travel-restrictions

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