Since Brexit, the principles on passport validity for British guests to the European Union have tightened. However the UK authorities tells travellers the laws are worse than they really are.
After requests from The Unbiased, the House Workplace has taken down its faulty post-Brexit passport checker.
However the authorities continues to publish inaccurate details about the validity of British journey paperwork within the European Union.
Some airways proceed to disclaim boarding to UK passport holders who’ve paperwork which can be legitimate for journey, laying themselves open to compensation claims.
These are the important thing questions and solutions based mostly on EU guidelines, not the UK authorities’s misinterpretation of them.
Whereas the UK was within the European Union, British passports had been legitimate as much as and together with their expiry date for journey throughout the EU. However because the finish of the Brexit transition section, British passport holders are handled as “third nation nationals” with stipulations about passport concern and expiry dates – along with limits on the size of keep nearly in every single place in Europe.
For the avoidance of doubt, these should not “new EU guidelines” – they had been determined whereas the UK was within the European Union.
What’s required for my passport to be legitimate?
The necessities for the Schengen Space – comprising most EU international locations plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and a handful of micro-states – are crisply expressed on the Journey web page of the European Union’s Your Europe website: “If you’re a non-EU nationwide wishing to go to or journey throughout the EU, you will want a passport
- legitimate for a minimum of three months after the date you plan to go away the EU nation you might be visiting,
- which was issued throughout the earlier 10 years.”
(All youngsters’s passports meet this latter situation – see under.)
Why the road about ‘issued throughout the earlier 10 years’?
For a few years, till September 2018, the UK had a beneficiant coverage of permitting credit score for “unspent” time when renewing a passport, issuing paperwork legitimate for as much as 10 years and 9 months.
So a passport issued on 31 October 2012 may present an expiry date of 31 July 2023.
This was advantageous round Europe and the world for decade – till Brexit, whereupon a longstanding rule kicked in. For non-members of the EU hoping to enter the Schengen Space, a passport should have been issued prior to now 10 years.
With a passport issued on 31 October 2012, whatever the expiry date, you’ll not be allowed to enter the EU from 1 November 2022.
Till September 2018 the federal government appeared unaware of the issue. As soon as the difficulty was recognized, the apply of giving as much as 9 months’ grace ended abruptly.
Are the “issued lower than 10 years in the past” and “legitimate for 3 months” guidelines mixed?
No. There isn’t any have to have a passport issued lower than 9 years, 9 months in the past. The 2 situations are impartial of one another.
The Migration and House Affairs Division of the European Fee in Brussels advised me: “Entry ought to be allowed to these travelling with passports issued throughout the earlier 10 years for the time being of entry into the Schengen space.
“The situation that the passport should have been issued throughout the earlier 10 years doesn’t lengthen at some stage in the meant keep. It’s sufficient if this situation is fulfilled for the time being of entry.
“To provide a sensible instance, a non-EU traveller arriving on 1 December 2021 for a 20-days keep within the EU with a passport issued on 2 December 2011 and legitimate till 2 April 2022 will probably be allowed entry.”
However the UK authorities mysteriously claims in any other case, saying: “For some Schengen international locations your passport could must be lower than 10 years previous throughout your entire go to, and the three months on the finish of your go to could must be inside 10 years of your passport’s concern date.”
In different phrases, the UK authorities says, your passport should have been issued not more than 9 years and 9 months in the past.
That is nonsense, as I’ve identified to officers – together with supplying specific affirmation from the European Fee in Brussels.
Sadly, some journey corporations and airways persist in making use of the inaccurate info. I’ve requested the European Fee to contact them and inform them in regards to the precise guidelines.
What does the UK authorities say?
A authorities spokesperson mentioned: “The European Fee has explicitly suggested us, together with in correspondence acquired [on 10 November 2021], that the situations of a passport being lower than 10 years previous and legitimate for 3 months post-return date are cumulative.
“We’re partaking with the Fee to hunt additional clarification and, if that is not the case, will replace our recommendation sooner or later.”
In establishing a British traveller’s proper to go to the EU, the UK’s interpretation of European guidelines is irrelevant. The Unbiased has contacted the main airways with the proper info as offered by the European Fee.
Which is legally superior: European guidelines or the UK’s uncommon interpretation?
Europe’s: the vacation spot’s angle is what counts. In the course of the summer time Jet2, not unreasonably, adopted UK recommendation and barred a variety of passengers from flights to Europe. After The Unbiased identified that this was in breach of European air passengers’ rights guidelines, Jet2 apologised and compensated the affected holidaymakers.
Britain’s greatest vacation firm, Tui, has modified its coverage to align it with European guidelines. A spokesperson for the journey big mentioned: “Following new info offered, we are able to verify that now we have now modified our coverage accordingly.
“Prospects won’t be denied boarding on the premise that their passport wants to satisfy each situations dependently.”
If I get wrongly turned away, what are my rights?
For flights: you possibly can declare denied boarding compensation (both £220 or £350, relying on the size of the flight) and related prices – for instance, reserving one other flight on a rival airline, or for wasted automotive rental and resort bills that can not be reclaimed.
I’ve simply learn a report saying I want six months remaining for Europe?
Some information retailers, regrettably, proceed to publish incorrect info. Ignore it.
Does that 10-year-plus rule apply wherever else on the earth?
No so far as I’m conscious. The priority across the date of concern is related just for journey to the European Union – not for the remainder of the world.
For locations exterior EU, the one vital consideration is the expiry date. And for locations reminiscent of Australia, the US and Canada, your passport is legitimate as much as and together with this date.
So with that passport expiring on 31 July 2023, you might be in New York till that very day (although you would want to get a daytime flight again to keep away from your passport working out en route.
What about youngsters?
Passports for under-16s are sometimes legitimate for 5 years (plus any additional credit score). A toddler’s passport issued for 5 years and 9 months is clearly throughout the 10-year restrict, and there’s no risk of breaching that situation.
(Throughout 2021, the House Workplace’s faulty passport checker stripped all additional credit score, which was each fallacious and unhelpful. The web checker has now been switched off.)
However watch out for the three-months-remaining-on-exit rule, which youngsters usually tend to fall foul of due to the shorter period of their passports.
When are you going to resume your passport?
It was issued on 23 Could 2012 and expires on 23 February 2023. The passport is due to this fact legitimate for departure to the EU as much as 22 Could 2022 for a keep of as much as 90 days (minus time I’ve spent within the EU within the earlier 90 days).
I’ll renew it upfront of the subsequent deliberate journey to Europe after that date.
What about this 90/180 day rule?
For journeys to the Schengen space (most EU nations plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and a few small international locations) British passport holders can keep a most of 90 days in any 180. That’s roughly three months in six.
it’s difficult to elucidate, however I shall do my greatest. Think about a calendar that stretches again nearly six months from at present. What occurred greater than 180 days in the past is irrelevant. What counts is the variety of days you had been both inside (I) or exterior (O) the Schengen Space prior to now 180 days.
You possibly can simply maintain rely on a calendar your self, both printed or digital.
If “I” hits 90, you should go away that day and keep out for nearly three months, to build up 90 “Os” in a row. Then you possibly can return in, for a most of 90 days.
In the course of the course of a calendar 12 months, it may work like this (assuming no journey to the EU within the earlier six months).
- 1 January: enter the EU and keep for 90 days till the final day of March, when you should go away.
- 1 April: stay exterior for 90 days, which takes you to 29 June.
- 30 June: enter the EU and keep for 90 days, till 27 September. Then go away.
- 28 September: stay exterior the EU till 26 December.
For longer stays, some international locations supply visas that enable British residents to stay for months on finish. If you happen to get certainly one of these, then the time spent in that nation doesn’t rely in the direction of the “90/180” rule – in different phrases, you possibly can discover different EU international locations with a recent calendar.
What about non-Schengen EU members?
For British guests to Eire, there aren’t any limits on passport validity. Certainly, a passport shouldn’t be legally obligatory for British travellers to the republic, although some airways insist on it.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania have similar guidelines to the Schengen Space: passport issued prior to now 10 years, and with three months validity remaining on the day of leaving the nation. However time spent in any of those nations doesn’t contribute to the “90/180” day whole.
Assist! My passport is filled with stamps and I’ve no house left. Will I be turned away?
No, though Eurostar warns British passport holders : “Verify that you’ve got a transparent web page in your passport as it should must be stamped along with your journey date while you’re travelling to and from the EU.”
The EU’s Sensible Handbook for Border Guards is specific a few “doc enabling a third-country nationwide to cross the border [that] is not appropriate for affixing a stamp, as there are not obtainable pages”.
It says: “In such a case, the third-country nationwide ought to be beneficial to use for a brand new passport, in order that stamps can proceed to be affixed there sooner or later.
“Nonetheless, as an exception – and notably within the case of standard cross-border commuters – a separate sheet can be utilized, to which additional stamps could be affixed. The sheet should be given to the third-country nationwide.
“In any case, the shortage of empty pages in a passport shouldn’t be, in itself, a legitimate and ample floor to refuse the entry of an individual.”