BRITS travelling to Europe in the next few months have been advised to check their passports now to avoid facing any problems at the airport.
There are just three weeks until the Brexit deadline on October 31 – and a No Deal could make your documents invalid.
According to The Passport Office, passport renewals can take up to three weeks, meaning now is the time to renew to get it in time for the Brexit deadline.
However, this could take longer as an influx of Brits rush to renew them.
A Home Office spokesperson told Which? they would have “appropriate resources” to handle larger volumes of renewals.
We explain what you need to know about your passport validity and what it could mean for your European holiday in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
How long is a passport valid?
It’s always best to check that your passport will still be valid when you travel at the time of booking as in some cases, companies will need you to fill in your passport details.
If your passport was issued when you were 16 years old or over, it’s valid for 10 years.
If it was issued when you were 15 or under, it’s valid for five years.
And if you’ve renewed your passport before it expires, you can get up to nine months carried over to your new passport – although this extra time might not always count towards the validity of your travel document.
Which countries require six months or more before expiry in order to travel?
The majority of countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months after your trip finishes (i.e. the date you travel home) and for this reason, it’s often best to make sure your passport always has six months left on it.
Currently, many European countries do not enforce the six month rule, for example in Spain and Greece, so your passport would be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.
However, this is set to change if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
When should Brits apply for passports if there is a No Deal Brexit?
The latest government advice is that EU countries could prevent Brit holidaymakers from entering if they have less than 15 months left on their passports in a No Deal situation after October 31.
The UK Foreign Office warn: “Adult and child passports should have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your date of travel.”
However, Brits who renewed their passport early and have additional months on their passport could need up to 15 months left on it.
The FCO added: “If you renewed your passport early, extra months would have been added to your new passport.
“Any extra months on an adult passport will not count towards the validity requirement.”
Why do I need 15 months left on my passport?
At the moment, Brits who renew their passport before it’s expired can carry up to nine months over to their new passport.
So a new passport can have the maximum validity of 10 years and nine months.
In a No Deal Brexit scenario, Brits visiting Schengen Area countries, including Spain, France and Greece, will be governed by the same rules as visitors from non-EU countries.
This means that they will need at least six months left on their passport to enter the EU, and their passport must have been issued in the last ten years.
It creates a loophole that makes the extra nine months that were carried over invalid in the Schengen Area.
That’s why Brits who carried over the full nine months when they last renewed would need at least 15 months left on the passport after Brexit – nine months to account for the now-invalid time carried over, plus six months for the required validity.
The Government has a free passport checker that you can use to check whether you need to renew your passport before you travel, which you can find here.
The government has a free passport checking tool that allows Brits to see if they need to purchase a new document before travelling after Brexit.
The checker analyses the dates of travel and how long is left on the passport before offering advice on whether it needs to be renewed.
Sun Online Travel recently revealed some of the most powerful passports around the world.
We also reported how there are only four different passport colours in the world.
And if you’re planning on visiting Bali, you need to make sure your passport is absolutely pristine.
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