Passport expiry rules cause chaos for British tourists – what are the new regulations?

Heathrow Airport: Chaos as passengers queue at border

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British holidaymakers keen to set off on a long-awaited holiday have had their plans upset by new passport legislation. Travel agents have reported the new expiry rules have caused confusion among British travellers.

British tourists are being caught out by new rules that they must follow after Brexit for travelling in the EU.

Since the UK left the EU, all British passport holders must have at least three months left on the document before expiry.

British travellers must also have had their passport issued within the last ten years if they want to visit the EU.

If the passport was renewed before the previous one expired and had extra months beyond the ten years added to its expiry, the extra months may not count in the EU.

Those affected by the changes right now are people who had their passport issued between 2011 and 2012.

British citizens can check if their passport will allow them to visit the EU on the UK Government website.

The confusion among British tourists is so extreme, some passengers have even reported missing their flight due to the rules.

Travel agents said “the majority” of British tourists were unaware that the rules had changed after Brexit.

Package holiday companies said that they would always check a British tourist’s passport expiry date when a booking was made.

UK tourists desperate to update their passports before an upcoming holiday are also being caught out by long waits for their new document.

One person waiting for a passport tweeted that they had called the passport office to be told the average wait time was five weeks.

However, when they called back they found that their “application still hasn’t been looked at and now I can’t get a fast track appointment until after I am due to fly.”

Another tweeted: “My job and travel both are affected. It’s been seven weeks now and I am losing my mind.”

Travel experts have said that the focus on the UK’s complicated traffic-light system has meant many passengers are unaware of the new expiry rules.

Under EU law, every traveller from outside the EU must have at least three months on their passport which must be less than 10 years old.

British tourists visiting popular destinations within the EU will need to check their documents if they want to go on holiday.

The new rules for Brits came into effect on January 1 2021 when the UK left the EU but many tourists are unsure of the current advice.

ABTA- The Travel Association has information for British tourists visiting the EU on its website.

It said: “The passport office is currently advising that it may take up to 10 weeks for applications to be processed, so make sure you apply in good time.

“If you have a British passport, you will need to have at least three months left on your passport and your passport must have been issued within the last 10 years.”

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