AMID all the other travel confusion and chaos caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, UK authorities have just published a new notice of changes to passport validity requirements.
The new notices were published online by the FCDO at 5:47pm on Tuesday, July 27 and apply to all countries in the European Union and Schengen zone (apart from Ireland).
So here’s what you need to know:
The gov.uk website on travel to Spain now states that your passport must be “valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave Spain and less than 10 years old.”
When new Brexit rules came in after the Withdrawal Period ended on December 31 Brits were warned that they would need to ensure their passports were valid for at least 6 months when travelling to countries in the EU bloc.
This essentially hasn’t changed but the new guidance takes into account the 90-day rule.
This means that the three month time-frame falls in with the fact that non-EU residents can only visit EU destinations for three months out of a six month rolling period.
Essentially you have to have at least six months when you enter a country and can only stay for three months which means three months of validity when you leave.
But the key element of the change is that the three months’ stipulation must be within 10 years of the passport issue date.
This means that if you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum three months needed.
Previously, with the UK in the European Union, British passports were valid up to and including their expiry date for travel within the EU.
Since the end of the Brexit transition phase, British passport holders are treated as “third country nationals” with stipulations about passport expiry dates and limits on length of stay almost everywhere in Europe.
Schengen Area countries require passports to have been issued within the last 10 years on the day of travel.
Until September 2018, the UK passport office had a policy of allowing credit for unused time when renewing a passport, issuing documents valid for up to 10 years and nine months.
Potentially, a passport issued on 30 June 2011 could show an expiry date of 30 March 2022.
Brexit made that irrelevant, with non EU-members passports now expiring after 10 years of issue.
Bluntly, a passport issued on 30 June 2011 will have a definite expiry date of 30 June 2021, regardless of any updated expiry date shown on the passport itself.
If that holder attempts to board a plane to an EU country on 1 July 2021, it would have insufficient validity and the airline would be obliged to turn them away – even though the British passport has almost eight months to run.
Conveniently, UK authorities have provided passport-holders with an online calculator to check in advance whether you need to renew or not.
– BREXIT: Brits unite in fight to extend 90-day allowance in Spain
– “No plans to deport British citizens”: Authorities in Spain urge calm over 90-day rule
– BREXIT: “No-one knows the real implications if Brits overstay 90-day rule in Spain”