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Confusing passport issue date and expiry rules catch out EU bound holidaymakers after Brexit

todayMay 4, 2022 1

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If you are heading on a trip to an EU country soon then make sure you are clued up on a passport rule that has been catching out holidaymakers.

Brexit brought changes to entry rules for Brits travelling to EU countries other than the Republic of Ireland. UK passport holders must check their document is valid for three months AND has been issued no more than 10 years ago.

The 10-year rule has caught travellers out recently, with one Notts woman refused boarding on a Spain bound Ryanair plane due to an issue date problem. But Jet2 let her on a flight to the same destination on the same day. There is confusion about how exactly the rule works.

Read more: Ryanair stops holidaymaker boarding plane even though passport had not expired

Passport issue date and expiry date rules for travel into EU

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) says UK passports must meet two requirements for travelling to Schengen area European countries, which includes most of the EU and popular tourist destinations like Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, as well as some Non-EU countries like Switzerland and Norway.

One is the passport must be valid for three months after the date the passport holder is set to leave the country they are travelling to. The second requirement is the passport can not be used if 10 years has passed since its “issue date”.

Passport issue date 10-year rule confusion

Some EU countries and some airlines will allow passengers to travel if the issue date is less than 10 years old on the date of entry, others require it to be less than 10 years old for the traveller’s entire visit. As mentioned above, the Nottinghamshire holidaymaker was turned away from a Ryanair flight, but allowed on a Jet2 flight heading to Spain on the same day.

It seems that those who renewed passports before they were due to expire are being caught out, as their renewed passport will last beyond 10 years since the original issue date, because additional unspent months left on the previous passport were added to the next renewed passport’s expiry date. Pre-Brexit, that wasn’t an issue for travelling to countries like Spain, France, Portugal and Italy, but as UK passport holders are now “Third-country nationals” in the EU, it now causes problems.

Jet2 has explained.

It said: “Most EU countries now require UK passports to be less than ten years old and still be valid for at least three months at the time you’re due to leave their country.”

The airline added: “Just so you know, if you renewed your passport before your previous passport expired, any extra months that may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date, making it valid for more than a ten year period, may not count.

“For example, a passport with an issue date of 1 January 2012 and an expiry date of 31 October 2022 isn’t valid for beyond 1 January 2022, ten years from its original issue.”

The UK Government and EU offer confusing information about the rule.

The FCO says: “We are asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022. Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the three months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.”

The EU has even said it is wrong to turn passengers away over the 10-year issue date rule, telling the BBC a more “generous interpretation” of the rule should be agreed on. A spokesperson added that passports should be accepted if they are less than 10 years old at the time of entry.

The EU said in a statement: “Our previous advice was intended to make sure travellers are prepared to comply with the most stringent possible interpretation of the Schengen rules.”

Should I get a new passport?

While the EU has indicated it will clear up the rules, to be safe, you should get a new passport if it was issued more than nine years and nine months before your holiday.

In a nutshell, if it’s 10 years since your passport’s “issue date”, get a new one before travelling to the EU, even if the passport is still valid, to avoid being turned away at the gate.

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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