Agents are rushing to warn customers travelling to Europe this summer that passports that were renewed early could be invalid in a no-deal Brexit.
The Passport Office used to grant up to nine months’ extra validity to passports renewed before their expiry date until late last year.
If the UK leaves without a deal on April 12, Britons visiting the EU (except Ireland) must have six months’ validity on their passports, not including any extra months that were added. Passports can currently be used up until the expiry date, including up to nine extra months.
In a Brexit seminar at The Travel Network Group’s Beyond The Expected conference in Budapest, travel lawyer Rhys Griffiths, partner at Fox Williams, warned agent members: “Crucially, extra months may not count towards the six months that should be remaining on your passport for travel in the EU. The quick way to check is if you have 15 months left on your passport on the day of arrival, you will be OK. Anything less, you need to check.”
The Home Office estimates up to 3.5 million passports could be invalid for EU travel in a no-deal.
Premier Travel director Paul Waters said he had been asking staff to warn customers. He said: “It’s not our responsibility but customers ask the question and I see it as part of our role as an agent to be there to guide them through any bumps in the road.”
Mark Brewer, director of Imp Travel in Lincoln, has also been warning customers. He said: “It’s time-consuming but we’ve got to do it. If we don’t and something goes wrong, we’ll end up with the blame.”
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