British passport: Post-Brexit validation change outlined by expert
As of January 1, the UK will have officially ended the Brexit transition period and an array of new regulations will come into force. One of the main rules impacting Britons travelling to Europe is to do with passport validity.
Experts at Which? have warned holidaymakers failing to comply with this new regulation may be turned away from their holiday, and might not be eligible for a refund.
Under the new rules, British passport holders visiting any EU country must have at least six months of validity on their passport.
They must also be no more than 10 years old.
According to the Government website: “You’ll need to have at least six months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
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“If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
“Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the six months needed.”
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, warns Britons it is “essential” they check their passports before they jet off, otherwise, they may face some major losses.
“It is essential that anyone with overseas travel booked from January 1 checks their passport before they go, as UK passport holders will now need a minimum of six months left on their passports to travel to most countries in Europe,” he warned.
“Some people may even need more than 15 months validity, depending on when they last renewed their passport.
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“Travellers are responsible for meeting entry requirements, so you can’t claim a refund if your passport is not valid.”
He continued: “If you do find you need to renew your passport and can’t travel, you should be able to take advantage of any flexible booking policy that was part of your contract with your travel provider.”
Britons who are planning to travel should also be sure to prepare well in advance.
“Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get your passport renewed,” advised Mr Boland.
“The current wait time is three weeks for online applications, but there is a chance this could increase if the end of the transition period has caused a backlog.”
Earlier in 2020, Her Majesty’s Passport Office suffered month-long backlogs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
At the time some Britons found themselves waiting as long as two months to receive their new passports.
Amid the hold-up, the passport office issued a warning, saying: “It is taking longer than the usual three to six weeks to process applications because of coronavirus.
“Do not apply unless you need a passport urgently for compassionate reasons, for example, if a family member has died, or for government business.”
Though there has been no recent update on whether passport renewals will be slower, new tier 3 and 4 restrictions across the UK have come into force which enforces restrictions much like a national lockdown.
However, Britons who apply now are able to check how long it will take before they receive their updated travel document.
“You can track your passport application immediately if you apply online or after three weeks if you apply by post,” explains HM Passport Office.
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