Travellers tell of being caught out because passports must be less than 10 years old – from the date of issue – on the day you enter your destination.
Britons planning a summer holiday in Europe are being urged to check their passport meets EU rules.
Two travellers have told of being turned away from departure gates because their documents fell foul of the requirements.
It is an issue being made more urgent by delays in processing passport applications as demand for travel recovers following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government website says passports must meet two requirements for those planning to visit an EU country (except Ireland).
- They must be less than 10 years old – from the date of issue – on the day you enter your destination
- They must remain valid for at least three months after you leave
For some countries in the Schengen travel area, however, your passport “may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit”, the advice warns.
And the three months following the end of your visit “may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date”.
The Schengen area comprises 26 EU countries which have abolished all passport and all other border controls at their mutual borders.
While the UK government says it is “asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule”, guidance for “Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022”.
One woman wrote on Facebook of her “crushing disappointment” after being “turned away at the departure gate for a flight to Tenerife because of an issue with my passport”.
That was despite it not expiring “until March 2023”.
And Ian Glover, 66, said he was turned away from a check-in desk at East Midlands Airport on 25 April because the issue date of his passport was not close enough to the end of his planned trip to Portugal.
He told Derbyshire Live: “They also want three months from the expiry of the date of issue. That’s not being made clear at all.”
A 10-week target for processing passport applications is also being missed in some cases, MPs were told last week.
In one example, Labour’s Stephanie Peacock told the Commons about a mother who submitted her daughter’s application in January and had yet to receive it.
Five million Britons delayed renewing their documents during the pandemic, according to the Passport Office, which said it was now seeing “unprecedented demand” – with a record one million applications processed in March.
It added that the “vast majority” of applications were still being dealt with in under 10 weeks and that it had hired 500 staff in the last year and was recruiting 700 more.