These are key questions and answers based on EU rules.
What has changed?
When the UK is in the EU, a UK passport is valid up to and including its expiry date for travel within the EU. But since the end of the Brexit transition phase, British passport holders are considered “third-country nationals”, with rules governing passport issuance and expiry dates – as well as restrictions on how long they can stay in almost all parts of Europe.
For the avoidance of doubt, these are not “new EU rules” – they were set when the UK joined the EU.
What does my passport need to be valid?
requirements Schengen area – including most EU countries as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and a few micro-countries – in Travel page of the EU Your Europe website: “If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need your passport:
- valid for at least three months from the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting,
- was issued within the past 10 years. “
(All children’s passports meet the latter condition – see below.)
Why write “released within the past 10 years”?
For years, until September 2018, the UK had a generous policy of allowing “unspent” time credit when renewing passports, issuing documents valid for up to 10 years and nine months.
Therefore, passports issued on October 31, 2012 can show an expiry date of July 31, 2023.
It was fine in Europe and around the world for a decade – until Brexit and a long-standing rule came into effect. For non-EU member states wishing to enter the Schengen area, the passport must have been issued within the past 10 years.
With a passport issued on 31 October 2012, regardless of the validity period, you will not be able to enter the EU from 1 November 2022.
Until September 2018, the government did not appear to be aware of the problem. The practice of forgoing the nine-month grace period ended abruptly once the problem was identified.
Are the “issuance within 10 years” and “valid for 3 months” rules in one?
No, it is not necessary to hold a passport issued less than nine years and nine months ago. These two conditions are independent of each other.
The European Commission’s Immigration and Home Office in Brussels told me: “Those who travel with a passport issued within the past 10 years when entering the Schengen area should be allowed to enter.
“The condition that the passport must have been issued within the last 10 years will not be extended beyond the intended period of stay. It is sufficient if this condition is met at the moment of entry.
“As a practical example, a non-EU traveller arriving on 1 December 2021 and staying in the EU for 20 days, with a passport issued on 2 December 2011 and valid until 2 April 2022, will be allowed entry .”
What are my rights if I am wrongly turned away?
For flights: You can claim denied boarding compensation (£220 or £350, depending on the length of the flight) and associated costs – for example, booking another flight with a competitor airline, or wasted car rental and hotel charges being paid Recycle.
I just read a report that I need another six months to go to Europe?
Regrettably, some news outlets continue to publish incorrect information. ignore it.
Does this 10+ year rule apply anywhere else in the world?
As far as I know no. Concerns about the launch date relate only to travel to the EU, not the rest of the world.
For destinations outside the EU, the only important consideration is the expiry date. For destinations such as Australia, the US and Canada, your passport is valid up to and including this date.
So if that passport expires on July 31, 2023, you’ll likely be in New York before that date (though you’ll need to take a day flight back in case you run out of passport en route.
What about the kids?
Passports under the age of 16 are usually valid for five years (plus any additional credits). The issuance of children’s passports of five years and nine months is clearly within a ten-year period and there is no possibility of violating this condition.
(During 2021, Home Office’s flawed passport checker Stripped of all the extra credit, it’s both wrong and unhelpful. The online checker is now closed. )
But be aware of the three-month rule on departure, which is more likely to be breached by children due to the shorter validity period of their passports.
When are you going to renew your passport?
It was issued on May 23, 2012 and expired on February 23, 2023. Therefore, the passport will be valid for travel to the EU before 22 May 2022 for a maximum of 90 days (minus the length of my stay in the EU in the previous 90 days).
I’ll update it before my next planned trip to Europe after that date.
How about the 90/180 day rule?
For travel to the Schengen area (most EU countries as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and some smaller countries), UK passport holders can stay for up to 90 days in any 180 days. That’s about 3 months out of 6 months.
It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try my best. Imagine a calendar going back almost six months from today. What happened more than 180 days ago is irrelevant. What matters is the number of days you have been in the (I) or (O) Schengen area in the last 180 days.
You can easily calculate the calendar yourself, whether printed or digital.
If the “I” reaches 90, you must leave that day and stay outside for nearly three months in order to accumulate 90 “O”s in a row. Then you can go back for up to 90 days.
Over the course of a calendar year, it can work like this (assuming no travel to the EU in the first six months).
- January 1: Enter the EU and stay for 90 days until the last day of March, when you must leave.
- April 1: 90 days outdoors until June 29.
- June 30: Entry into the EU and stay of 90 days until September 27. Then left.
- September 28: Remain outside the EU until December 26.
For long-term stays, some countries offer visas that allow UK citizens to stay for several consecutive months. If you get one of those, time spent in that country doesn’t count towards the ’90/180′ rule – in other words, you can use the new calendar to explore other EU countries.
What about non-Schengen EU member states?
For UK tourists Ireland, There is no limit to the validity period of the passport. In fact, British travellers to the Republic are not legally required to hold a passport, despite some airlines insisting it.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania There are the same regulations as in the Schengen area: passports issued in the past 10 years have three months of validity on the date of departure. But time spent in any of these countries doesn’t affect the “90/180” day total.
help! My passport is full of stamps and I have no room. Will I be turned away?
No, despite Eurostar’s warning to UK passport holders: “Check that your passport has a clear page as your travel dates will need to be stamped when you travel to and from the EU.”
EU’s A Practical Handbook for Border Guards A document that clearly states “a document that allows third-country nationals to transit through the country” [that] No longer suitable for postage stamps as there are no more pages available”.
It said: “In this case, third-country nationals should be advised to apply for a new passport for continued stamping in the future.
“However, as an exception – especially for regular cross-border commuters – a separate sheet of paper, on which more stamps are affixed, can be used. The form must be made available to third-country nationals.
“In any event, the absence of blank pages in a passport is not in itself a valid and sufficient reason to deny entry to a person.”