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 Dwelling 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 might 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 have been legitimate as much as and together with their expiry date for journey throughout the EU. However for the reason that 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 virtually in every single place in Europe.
For the avoidance of doubt, these are usually not “new EU guidelines” – they have 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 web site: “In case you are a non-EU nationwide wishing to go to or journey throughout the EU, you will have a passport
- legitimate for at the least three months after the date you propose to go away the EU nation you’re 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 positive 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 up 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 is no such thing as a 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 Dwelling Affairs Division of the European Fee in Brussels informed me: “Entry must be allowed to these travelling with passports issued throughout the earlier 10 years in the intervening time of entry into the Schengen space.
“The situation that the passport should have been issued throughout the earlier 10 years doesn’t prolong throughout the meant keep. It’s sufficient if this situation is fulfilled in the intervening time of entry.
“To present 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 likely be allowed entry.”
However the UK authorities mysteriously claims in any other case, saying: “For some Schengen international locations your passport could should be lower than 10 years outdated throughout your complete go to, and the three months on the finish of your go to could should 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 express affirmation from the European Fee in Brussels.
Sadly, some journey companies 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 obtained [on 10 November 2021], that the situations of a passport being lower than 10 years outdated and legitimate for 3 months post-return date are cumulative.
“We’re partaking with the Fee to hunt additional clarification and, if that is now not the case, will replace our recommendation in the end.”
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 right info as supplied 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. Through the summer time Jet2, not unreasonably, adopted UK recommendation and barred plenty 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 largest vacation firm, Tui, has modified its coverage to align it with European guidelines. A spokesperson for the journey big mentioned: “Following new info supplied, we are able to verify that we’ve got now modified our coverage accordingly.
“Clients is not going to 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 may 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 would like 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 this planet?
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 outdoors EU, the one vital consideration is the expiry date. And for locations similar to 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 may be in New York till that very day (although you would want to get a daytime flight again to keep away from your passport operating 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 Dwelling Workplace’s faulty passport checker stripped all additional credit score, which was each improper and unhelpful. The net 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 subsequently 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 following 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 tough to clarify, however I shall do my greatest. Think about a calendar that stretches again virtually six months from at this time. What occurred greater than 180 days in the past is irrelevant. What counts is the variety of days you have been both inside (I) or outdoors (O) the Schengen Space up to now 180 days.
You’ll be able to simply hold depend on a calendar your self, both printed or digital.
If “I” hits 90, you should depart that day and keep out for nearly three months, to build up 90 “Os” in a row. Then you may return in, for a most of 90 days.
Through the course of a calendar yr, 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 depart.
- 1 April: stay outdoors for 90 days, which takes you to 29 June.
- 30 June: enter the EU and keep for 90 days, till 27 September. Then depart.
- 28 September: stay outdoors the EU till 26 December.
For longer stays, some international locations supply visas that enable British residents to stay for months on finish. When you get one in all these, then the time spent in that nation doesn’t depend in the direction of the “90/180” rule – in different phrases, you may discover different EU international locations with a contemporary calendar.
What about non-Schengen EU members?
For British guests to Eire, there aren’t any limits on passport validity. Certainly, a passport will not be legally necessary for British travellers to the republic, although some airways insist on it.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania have an identical guidelines to the Schengen Space: passport issued up 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 complete.
Assist! My passport is stuffed with stamps and I’ve no area 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’s going to should be stamped together with your journey date once you’re travelling to and from the EU.”
The EU’s Sensible Handbook for Border Guards is express a few “doc enabling a third-country nationwide to cross the border [that] is now not appropriate for affixing a stamp, as there are now not out there pages”.
It says: “In such a case, the third-country nationwide must be advisable 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 may be affixed. The sheet should be given to the third-country nationwide.
“In any case, the shortage of empty pages in a passport will not be, in itself, a sound and adequate floor to refuse the entry of an individual.”