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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.

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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.

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.

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How many months do I need on my passport to travel?

Having a valid passport is essential for international travel, but countries have different rules around when a passport expires — and it’s not necessarily the date shown on your document. After Brexit, for example, UK passport holders now need to have a passport that’s less than ten years old when you enter an EU member state, with an expiry date that’s at least three months after the day you leave.

For some destinations, a valid passport isn’t the only requirement — you may also need to have full blank pages for visa and entry and exit stamps. Here’s everything you need to know, including the entry requirements for some of the most popular destinations for British travellers.

Main photo: wherever you’re going, check the passport requirements (Alamy)

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Corscia: your passport must be less than ten years old when you enter and valid for at least three months after you leave

Corsica: your passport must be less than ten years old when you enter and valid for at least three months after you leave (Alamy)

Popular destinations

• Spain: passport must be less than ten years old when you enter the country and valid for at least three months after the day you leave.

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• Greece: less than ten years old when you enter the country and valid for at least three months after the day you leave.

• France: less than ten years old when you enter the country and valid for at least three months after the day you leave.

• Italy: less than ten years old when you enter the country and valid for at least three months after the day you leave.

• US: passport must be valid for duration of stay, no additional validity required.

The US: your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay

The US: your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay (Getty Images)

Less than three months needed

• Argentina: passport must be valid for duration of stay

• Australia: valid for duration of stay.

• Barbados: valid for duration of stay.

• Bermuda: valid for duration of stay

• Canada: valid for duration of stay

• Chile: valid for duration of stay

• Cuba: valid for two months after departure.

• Japan: valid for duration of stay

• Jamaica: valid for duration of stay

• Mexico: valid for duration of stay.

• Morocco: valid for duration of stay but three additional months is advisable

• Seychelles: valid for duration of stay.

• St Lucia: valid for duration of stay

• Tunisia: valid for duration of stay

Tunisia: your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay

Tunisia: your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay (Alamy)

Three months needed

• EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden): passport must be valid from day after departure and less than ten years old

• Iceland: passport must be valid from day after departure and less than ten years old.

• Norway: from day after departure and less than ten years old

• Switzerland: from day after departure and less than ten years old

Switzerland: your passport will need to be valid from day after departure and less than ten years old

Switzerland: your passport will need to be valid from day after departure and less than ten years old (Getty Images)

Six months needed

• Anguilla: passport must be valid for six months from arrival

• Antigua and Barbuda: from arrival

• Bolivia: from arrival

• Dominican Republic: from arrival (as of July 31, 2022)

• Taiwan: from arrival

India: your passport be valid 180 days from visa application and arrival, and contain two blank pages

India: your passport be valid 180 days from visa application and arrival, and contain two blank pages (Alamy)

Which countries require blank pages in your passport?

Some countries require full blank pages for visas on arrival as well as entry and exit stamps. In some cases, these blank pages need to be consecutive. Double check with the embassy before you travel.

• India: passport must be valid 180 days from visa application and arrival, and contain two blank pages

• Kenya: valid six months from arrival, plus two blank pages

• Mauritius: valid for duration of stay, plus a blank page

• Namibia: valid six months from arrival, plus a blank page

• Rwanda: valid six months from arrival, plus a blank page

• Turkey: valid six months from arrival, plus a blank page.

• South Africa: valid for six months from arrival and 30 days on departure, plus two blank pages

How do I find out how long I need on my passport?

The Foreign Office has a full list of entry requirements for different countries, including passport validity. It assumes you are travelling on a full, standard British passport. If you have a passport issued from a British Overseas Territory, the entry requirements may be different for some destinations. You should also double check details with the embassy of the country you’re visiting.

What’s the minimum passport validity to enter the UK?

The UK government requires visitors from other countries to have a passport (or other valid ID if from EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) that is valid for the duration of their stay. No additional validity is required.

How do I get a new passport if I need one?

You can apply for a new passport online via the government’s website. It costs £75.50 for a standard adult passport (valid 10 years), or £49 for a child under 16 (valid five years), and you’ll need a credit or debit card for this. Alternatively you can apply for one through the post; the forms for postal applications are available through the Post Office and it costs £85 for an adult or £58.50 for a child.

You’ll need to send in certain documents which usually include a birth certificate if it’s your first passport, or your previous passport if you’re renewing. The requirements vary according to your circumstances but the application form will tell you what you need.

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Stricter passport rules and a faulty Home Office website have caused confusion for many families looking to travel overseas this summer

The Home Office has relaunched its online passport checker, after the service was taken down for generating false negative results for some children’s travel documents.

The faulty website was removed last week after thousands of families were wrongly informed that their children would not be admitted into countries in the European Union.

A new version of the system corrects the error which had failed to recognise extra months added to a child’s passport as valid, informing them that they could not travel to the EU.

Stricter passport rules for British citizens visiting the EU came into effect after Brexit. These new rules, along with the faulty Government website have caused confusion for many families looking to travel overseas this summer.

Here’s what you need to know about the new passport rules for visiting the EU.

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What has changed since Brexit?

Before Brexit, British citizens could travel to any nation in the EU, up to and including the expiry date on their passport.

Since Brexit day on 31 December 2020, British citizens are treated the same as any other “third country nationals”.

How many months do I need on my passport?

To enter the EU, you’ll need at least three months left on your passport on the day you plan on leaving the EU.

The EU’s official website says: “If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport:

  • Valid for at least three months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting
  • Which was issued within the previous 10 years

Why is the ‘issued within the previous 10 years’ part important?

Before Brexit, the Government would issue passports for ten years, plus the extra months of validity left on your old passport, meaning that many passport holders will have document that is valid for more than 10 years.

Now that British passport holders are not EU citizens, these extra months are no longer valid for travel in the EU.

Travellers nearing the end of a passport’s validity who try to travel within these extra “bonus months” could be barred from entering the EU.

If the EU says three months, why does the UK Government advise having six months left on a passport?

Out of an abundance of caution the Government advises travelling with at least six months left on your passport.

This would protect all passengers, even those staying in Europe for the full 90 days allowed for UK tourists, from any chance of overstaying in the EU beyond the three month cut-off point.

EU border agents will quickly do the same maths, theoretically making them less likely to demand evidence of a return ticket to the UK before letting you enter the country. Presuming that you don’t plan on breaking the law by staying in the EU for more than 90 days, they’ll know that you will be home before the three month mark.

It is always a good practice to aim for six months or more validity left on your passport anyway. Many popular holiday destinations outside the EU, such as Turkey, require a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date you enter.

Where can I check if my passport is valid for travel?

You can visit the newly relaunched online passport checker on the Home Office website. You’ll need to type in the country you’re visiting, your date of birth and your passport expiry issue and expiry date.

Read More

What if I still don’t trust the Home Office website?

If you want to double check your result, you can visit visaguide.world where they’ve created their own tool that enables UK citizens, as well as other foreign nationals, to check their passport’s validity for travel to the EU.

What about travel to Ireland?

Ireland is part of the Common Travel Area, meaning that you don’t need a passport at all the enter the republic. However, some airlines do mandate a passport anyway, as a form of ID.

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

Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/travel/advice/how-many-months-do-i-need-on-my-passport-to-travel

Source https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/travel/passport-uk-how-long-months-travel-europe-brexit-rules-when-renew-explained-1131637

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