• 2.April.2024
  • 3 min
  • By: Steve Reid

Travellers are being warned not to get caught out by the “passport 10-year rule” which can ruin their travel plans.

UK travellers used to be able to carry up to nine months from an old passport over on to a new one. But after Brexit, EU countries will not accept passports that have been issued more than 10 years ago.

Home Office information suggests that 32 million people applied for passports which could now be over 10 years old.

Our resident travel expert Steve Reid explains the issue. Since the UK left the EU, travellers heading to all countries within the EU including Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland, must have a passport which was issued less than 10 years before their departure date. It must also be valid for three months after their planned return date.

However, if a UK passport was issued before September 2018, it could be valid for up to 10 years and 9 months. This is because the passport office used to add up to nine months from an old passport on to a new one.

It’s vital to check the issue date of the passport. It must be issued within the last 10 years, and you must have a minimum of 3 months before its expiry date for your planned return date to the UK.

There have been reported instances of people being denied boarding their flight because their passports do not meet the minimum criteria. The fact that you can book your trip and check in online, go through security, and end up at your boarding gate is no guarantee that you’ll be fine; there is a high-risk that you’ll be denied boarding. If this happens, you’ll have no recourse and no rights to any compensation from the airline. This is because it is your responsibility that your travel documents are valid. You will probably be unable to claim on your travel insurance for the same reason. So, it’s important for you to check your documents before you book you trip.

What are the rules for renewing passports?

  • People must renew a passport when it has expired or if there’s not sufficient time remaining on it.
  • How much time you need on your passport depends on the country you want to visit. Generally, you should have a clear 3 months remaining (before the passport expiry date) on the date that you are travelling back to the UK.
  • Post-Brexit, EU countries now do not accept passports issued more than 10 years ago.
  • Passports can be renewed online by HM Passport Office https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport or in person from some larger branches of the Post Office.
  • It normally takes up to three weeks to renew a passport from the UK, but it may take longer.
  • It is also possible to get a passport issued urgently in the UK by booking an appointment at your nearest passport office, but there is normally a premium charge for this service.
  • If you are unsure about the validity of your passport you can call the HM Passport advice line https://www.gov.uk/passport-advice-line

Thousands of people are likely caught out by passport problems every year. Please check that your passport is valid before you book your trip, as this will avoid the misery and disappointment of being denied boarding because your documents don’t meet EU regulations.

Steve Reid is a seasoned traveler and passionate advocate for passenger rights. With years of experience navigating the skies, Steve has become an expert in understanding the intricacies of flight delays, cancellations, and compensation.

As the go-to authority on all things related to air travel compensation, Steve brings a wealth of knowledge to our blog. Whether you’re seeking advice on claiming compensation or understanding your rights, Steve's insights give practical advice when things don't go as planned with air travel.

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn to stay updated on the latest travel news and receive expert advice.

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