Brexit: Here’s why your summer holiday to Europe could be scuppered if you don’t renew your passport this week

Millions of British holidaymakers could be prevented from travelling to popular European destinations unless they renew their passport this week, a consumer group has claimed

By Matthew Mohan-Hickson
Thursday, 7th March 2019, 7:40 am
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 8:45 am
Which? are warning millions of Brits could need to renew their passport by Friday. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Which? are warning millions of Brits could need to renew their passport by Friday. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Tourists and business travellers could run the risk of falling foul of rules for entering Schengen zone countries such as Spain, Italy and France, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to Which?. 

Visitors would usually need six months left on their passports from the date they arrive on the continent. 

Until recently, UK citizens who renewed their passports before they expired could carry over up to nine months of validity to their new travel documents. 

Which? are warning millions of Brits could need to renew their passport by Friday. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

However the Government is now warning that time carried over will no longer count towards the six-month requirement in the event of a no-deal Brexit, meaning that travellers with up to 15 months left on their passport could be denied entry to popular holiday destinations. 

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Figures obtained by Which? show that 3.5 million British people could be affected by the passport rules from March 30. 

Schengen rules require that passports must have at least six months validity on the day of travel and have been renewed within the last ten years, some people with 15 months to run on their travel documents risk being caught out.

Which? note that Friday is exactly three weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU, which is the exact time it takes for a new passport to arrive. 

The consumer group are also warning that closer Britain gets to a no-deal Brexit on March 29, the busier the Passport Office is likely to get as more holidaymakers realise they will need a new passport to travel.

Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: ‘Millions of people could find their holiday plans disrupted or worse yet find themselves stranded at the departure gate and prevented from travelling altogether if they fail to renew their passport before the cut off date.

‘Anyone who thinks they might be affected should look to renew their passport today or if you already have travel plans in the near future consider using the fast track passport renewal service.’ 

Information for travellers has been patchy, with most Government advice throughout the Brexit process indicating that anyone with six months validity on their passport was likely to be fine to travel.

Airlines have been slow to provide clear advice to their customers.

Which? is urging anyone unsure of their passport status to check the validity of their travel documents before they run out of time to renew.

Anyone who is refused travel because their passport isn’t valid will not be entitled to rebooking, compensation or a refund. They’ll be left completely out of pocket.

You can check to see if you need to renew your passport this week  by using the Government’s new online passport checker – by clicking this link here

Are you planning a trip to Europe this summer? Let us know if you are worried about being affected by the passport rules in the comments below.