Check your passport before booking holiday to stop post-Brexit rule from ruining trip, Brits warned

27 March 2024, 15:30

A policeman checks passports and vehicles at the entrance of the Channel tunnel in Calais, northern France
A policeman checks passports and vehicles at the entrance of the Channel tunnel in Calais, northern France. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

British people have been warned to check that their passport is in date before booking a holiday to stop themselves falling foul of a post-Brexit rule.

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Since the UK's departure from the European Union, British people going to any country in the EU, other than Ireland - and including Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland - must have a passport that was issued less than ten years ago.

It must also be valid for at least three months after the date you will leave the EU.

Before September 2018, the previous Passport Office policy was to issue passports that were valid for ten years and nine months.

This took into account time left over from previous passports.

Read more: Boost for holidaying Brits as new plans emerge to use facial recognition in place of passports for UK arrivals

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But now British citizens became third-country nationals, and were treated like people from other non-EU countries.

Travel journalist Simon Calder estimates that on average 200 people are turned away from their flights every day because of the rule change.

Rory Boland, travel editor at Which?, said that the ten-year rule often catches travellers out.

"What's really important is that you check your passport validity and expiry date when booking your holiday," he said.

'You'd flash your passport out of the window and on you go!'

"Not when you go to check-in, and certainly not when you travel to the airport, because that's when people are continually finding that their passport is out of date and it's often then too expensive, and too complicated to save their holiday," he told the BBC.

The ten-year rule only applies to the EU, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland - not to other countries, where your passport is valid up until its expiry date.

Travellers are responsible for making sure that their own passport is valid - they will not get their money back if they are turned away.

Anyone who is travelling this weekend and spots that they have fallen foul of the rule can apply for an emergency passport appointment - but it is more expensive than a standard application.

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