Britons issued passport warning as little known rule may mean you are denied boarding - 32,000 people could be vulnerable

UK passport / Woman showing passport at airport

Britons have been warned to check the validity of their passports

Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 27/03/2024

- 10:34

Britons must check the issue date and expiry date of their passports if they plan to visit the EU

Britons have been warned they may not be able to travel if they fail to check an important passport detail.

UK travellers could previously carry up to nine months from an old passport over onto a new one. But post-Brexit, EU countries will not accept passports issued more than 10 years ago. According to data from the Home Office, this could leave 32,000 people vulnerable.

Travel expert Simon Calder shared how UK passport holders can avoid being caught out on their next holiday. He explained that EU countries are concerned with the issue date of passports.

Calder told holidaymakers: "My last EU passport issued in the UK was valid for a total of 10 years and nine months, because you got extra credit.

A passport from the counter of the London Passport Office

Your passport 'can't have had its 10th birthday on the day you want to leave for the European Union'


"And that's great - until we left the EU and we said we want to be subject to the rules for third-country nationals."

Consequently, your passport "can't have had its 10th birthday on the day you want to leave for the European Union".

He continued: "And on the day you plan to come back from the European Union, it has to have at least three months before the expiry date."

Calder revealed that many travellers are falling short when it comes to these two tests. Those with plans to travel to EU countries over the Easter weekend have been advised to book an emergency appointment for a quick passport turnaround. Those travelling a bit later in the year have more time on their side.

These rules only apply to those visiting EU countries, but not Ireland.

If you're heading to the US, Australia, or other popular tourist countries, your passport is valid up to and including the expiry date.

But for those heading to the EU, many Britons may be vulnerable. Home Office data shows that 32.1 million people had applied for UK passports that if granted would be over 10 years old.

Norwich man Nathan Barnes was recently caught out by the passport rule, and consequently was refused boarding on a flight to France.

The holidaymaker was hoping to make his way to Limoges with his fiancé to visit family but was stopped at the departure gate, despite checking in for his flight online, and going through security and passport control.

His passport had been issued more than 10 years ago, and for this reason he was not allowed to board the plane.


People starting to board plane

Britons may be denied boarding if their passport doesn't meet the requirements


Simon Calder suggested that across the year you could "easily find that there are over 100,000 people who lose their holidays as a result of these rules".

Travel Editor at Which? Rory Boland said that "the '10-year rule' is a problem that continues to catch people out".

He provided a word of advice for holidaymakers: "What's really important is that you check your passport validity and expiry date when booking your holiday."

He explained that making the check during check-in or on your travels to the airport is too late, as it's often "too expensive and too complicated to save their holiday".

Britons have also been warned of a price hike for passport applications that comes into effect within weeks.

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