Latest Government passport advice for travelling to Europe

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If you are planning a trip to Europe when international leisure travel resumes, its important to know the status of your passport for travelling to the EU as well as the EFTA countries of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Not surprisingly, Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) has seen a significant drop in applications for passports during the pandemic so demand may be high once travel returns to normal. HMPO is advising people to apply now if they need a passport and allow up to 10 weeks processing time.

Director General of Her Majesty’s Passport Office, Abi Tierney, said:

“It is vital those who may need to apply for a new passport do so now. If you have delayed renewing your passport or are applying for the first time, please apply now so you can receive it in good time.

“Our dedicated staff work tirelessly to ensure that passport applications are processed as quickly as possible.

“This new advice will help to ensure that we continue to meet the travel plans of our customers during any period of the very highest passport demand”.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office will be sending text messages to people whose passports are nearing expiration to let them know to allow more time when they renew.

Key Passport Advice

Different passport validity rules apply for British Citizen passport holders visiting Europe. Check your passport validity using the passport checker on GOV.UK. You may need to renew it earlier than planned and should allow up 10 weeks when applying from the UK. This does not apply to Ireland.

When using the passport checker you will need the issue date, the expiry date and the date you plan to travel.

Other rules you should be aware of are:

  • You must have at least 6 months left on a  passport to travel to most countries in Europe. This includes child passports. This does not apply for travel to Ireland.
  • If you renewed your current passport early before your old one expired then extra months may have been added to the expiry date. Any extra months you were given over the ten years may not count towards the 6 month validity period needed.
  • You can easily check the validity status for you and your families passports by using the GOV.UK passport checker.
  • You should allow up to 10 weeks for your new passport to arrive when making an application from the UK. Processing times for applications from overseas will vary.
  • Both the blue and burgundy coloured British passports that are still valid remain equally acceptable. This include passports with “European Union” printed on the cover.

Hopefully, following the Governments’ roadmap we will see the return of leisure travel from the 17th May. As yet we don’t know which countries, including any European countries, will be on the green list. If you are anxious to get away for a break or maybe travelling to see family members in a European Union country then you can keep up to date with all the latest official advice on gov.uk/visit-europe-2021.

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

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