Millions of UK travellers urged to renew passports immediately to avoid restrictions in event of no-deal Brexit
The deadline is today.
As many as 3.5 million UK passport holders are being urged to renew their passports immediately in order to avoid being barred entry to several EU countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
It’s a warning that has already been sounded in recent months, but with the date for Britain’s scheduled exit from the EU edging ever closer and the threat of a no-deal Brexit still looming large, it has been repeated to warn the millions of UK passport holders who could be affected.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, passports with up to 15 months of validity remaining won’t be accepted for travel to countries in the Schengen Area, an area which covers most of the countries in the European Union, excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom, as well as Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus.
If the United Kingdom leaves the EU with no deal, UK passport holders will have to follow existing rules for visitors from non-EU countries travelling to countries in the Schengen Area, where passports must have been issued within the past 10 years and have at least six months validity remaining on their passport on the day of travel.
Currently, should they wish to travel on 30 March, the day after Britain’s scheduled exit from the EU, UK consumer group Which? says 3.5 million passport holders in the UK could be affected, with up to 1.5 million of those expected to travel this summer.
Which? has advised that today (7 March) is the last day that UK passport holders can renew their passports using standard procedures to get it in time for 30 March.
UK passport holders can check if they need to renew their passport by using the UK Government’s online Passport Checker.
Speaking to the Independent, a Home Office spokesperson said: “If there is no deal, new rules would apply when travelling on a British passport to many European countries and some people may need to renew their passport earlier than planned.
“If your passport does not meet the new rules, you should apply for a new passport before travelling to the countries affected.
“You can use the government’s online passport checker to check a passport for travel to Europe. We recommend that you renew your passport in good time ahead of your travel date.
“In January we launched our ongoing campaign to inform the public of these new rules, and we continue to work with partners in the travel and transport industries to inform people with bookings after 29 March 2019.”