The passport rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) without a deal.
If you travel to Europe for work or leisure, make sure you:
- check your passport meets the new rules
- renew your passport in plenty of time before travel if necessary
The new rules will cover travel to the 26 countries in the Schengen area. These are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Travel to the Republic of Ireland will not be affected.
If you’re planning to go to countries that are in the EU but not the Schengen area (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania) you will need to check a country’s entry requirements.
The new rules will apply to passports issued by:
- the UK
- the Isle of Man
If you’re planning to renew your passport you will find that it is cheaper and quicker for you to renew an adult passport online at GOV.UK.
Read more information about travelling to Europe after the UK leaves the EU.
How the passport rules will change
UK passports are currently accepted for travel to the Schengen area up until their expiry date. This is because the UK is a member of the EU.
If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, some older passports that are nearing their expiry date may not be accepted by EU countries.
From 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), if there’s ‘no deal’:
- you will need to show that your passport is still valid for at least 6 months from the date you arrive in the Schengen area
- if you have an adult passport that was issued for longer than 10 years, any extra months beyond 10 years do not count. Your passport would have been issued for longer than 10 years if you had renewed your old passport early, because the remaining valid period (up to 9 months) was added to your new passport. This no longer happens. This means your passport may need to be valid for more than 6 months – depending on how many extra months you were issued with. The remaining valid period should be 6 months plus however many extra months your passport was issued for, for example:
a. if your passport was issued for 10 years and 3 months you should have 9 months left (6 months plus 3 months)
b. if your passport was issued for 10 years and 9 months you should have 15 months left (6 months plus 9 months)
Actions you can take now
- If you are booking any travel to Europe after 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), use the online calculator to check if your passport has enough time left.
- If you are a business, ensure that your employees and customers are aware of the new passport rules that may come into effect in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit.
- Stay up-to-date with these changes by registering for email alerts. Follow the link, add your email address, select ‘Submit’, select ‘Add subscription’ and choose ‘EU Exit’ then select ‘Submit’.