AN urgent warning to holidaymakers who have passports due to expire has been issued – as passengers fall foul of new rules.
New rules brought in following the UKs exit from the European Union now mean certain passports still appearing ‘in date’ are no longer valid.
The rules, which apply when travelling to most EU countries, now say passports must be under ten years old, even if extra months were added from a renewal.
The previous requirement to have at least six months from the expiry date remaining on passports on the day of travel to the EU has stayed in place.
But it now means holidaymakers should ensure their passports have at least six months left, ten years from the date the passport was issued – not the expiry date.
The rule change, which came in on January 1, has been catching some people out as travel restrictions lift as one family discovered the hard way this month.
On social media, Cheryl Washbourne issued a warning after she was refused travel when flying from Newcastle to Palma, despite believing her passport was in date.
Ms Washbourne, who was due to fly along with her family, said she had not been made aware of the rule change, instead believing six months remaining was adequate.
Once in the terminal building, she was told her passport was not valid for travel to the EU.
Sharing a picture of her passport, which had an issue date of July 2011, the date of expiry was listed as April 2022.
But due to the rule change, the passport was had technically expired for EU travel in July 2021.
On social media warning others, she said: “I’m putting this out there to help anyone who might be like us and totally unaware of this.”
That prompted widespread warnings from the travel industry including Seaside Easington, which has since urged its customers to check their passport expiry dates.
What airlines have said
One airline said that it had reacted to the change and was advising customers to check the validity of their passport as per requirements.
A spokesperson for Jet2 and Jet2Holidays said: “As part of our pre-departure communications, we always contact customers to advise them to check their passport validity and point them to our Travel Requirements page on our website – https://www.jet2.com/en/flights/safe-travel/travel-requirements.”
How to check whether your passport is in date under new rules
The Government has created an online checking tool to help passport holders identify whether their passport will be valid – click here.
The latest Government guidance states that you may need to renew your British passport if on the day you travel – your passport has at least six months left and is less than ten years old (even if it has six months or more left).
It said that the rules do not apply to travel to Ireland, saying it can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.
What if you need a new passport and are due to travel
Currently, passport applications can take up to ten weeks in order but for those who are set to travel sooner, they can use a “fast track” method through the Gov website.
Applying for what’s known as an “urgent passport,” holidaymakers can either apply using its one-week Fast Track service, where it is delivered within a week of your appointment.
This costs £142 for an adult passport or £122 for a child passport.
Or for even sooner appointments, holidaymakers can apply for through the Government’s “Online Premium” service which allows collection at a passport office.
According to the website, this service costs £177 and is only open to those renewing an adult passport that was issued after December 31, 2001.