Millions of Brits face having to renew their passports before Brexit .
If there’s no Brexit deal by March 29, some documents will no longer grant you access to the EU – even if they’re in date.
That’s because EU countries will demand you have at least six months left before your passport expires on your date of travel.
That is different to the situation now, where you can enter France or Germany even if your passport only has a week left.
HM Passport Office is now sending out texts urging people to check if they need to renew.
So here is the government’s guidance for whether you need to renew.
Will my passport be valid after Brexit?
British passports will carry on being valid to travel to the EU after Brexit.
However, if there is no Brexit deal, the UK will be counted as a “third country” after 29 March 2019.
That means if you are travelling to ‘Schengen area’ countries, you must have at least six months left on your passport from the date of travel.
What are Schengen area countries?
The following are members of the Schengen Agreement: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
When should I renew my passport?
The government is advising most travellers – children AND adults – to renew any passports that will have less than six months’ remaining validity at the time of their trip.
“If your passport does not meet these criteria, you may be denied entry to any of the Schengen area countries, and you should renew your passport before you travel,” a government note warns.
It goes on to say people with expiring passports should renew them “soon” because the passport office can get “busy”.
What if my passport was valid for more than 10 years?
Some Brits will have to renew their passports 15 MONTHS early if there is a No Deal Brexit .
The government has revealed a little-known loophole that could bar families from holiday hotspots like France and Spain this summer.
Since last year, Brits have been warned to have at least six months left on their passport if they want to travel to the EU in a No-Deal.
But now officials admit some people will need to renew much earlier than that.
It’s because between 2001 and September 2018, some UK passports were issued with up to nine months’ extra lifespan on top of the usual 10 years.
Yet those extra months – awarded when people “carried over” time from their old passport – won’t count if you are entering the EU.
So if you have a passport that is valid for longer than 10 years, you should not just count six months back from the expiry date to find out when it won’t be valid.
Will I have to pay to visit the EU?
If there is no Brexit deal, you will probably have to pay for the privilege of visiting the EU.
Short-term trips won’t need a visa, but they will need a visa waiver .
This is predicted to cost Brits €7 (£6.29 at today’s rate).
What if there IS a Brexit deal?
If there is a Brexit deal, the above advice does not apply.
UK citizens will enjoy free, unlimited travel to the EU until at least 31 December 2020, as long as their passports are in date.
How will passports change after Brexit?
The design of passports will change after Brexit.
Passports printed on or after 30 March 2019 will no longer have the words “European Union” on the cover.
Then, later in 2019, the colour of British passports will change from burgundy to blue.