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Over the last few months, there has been increasing confusion over the rules around traveling in and out of the European Union with a United Kingdom passport – confusion that has arisen from the official Home Office passport validity checker giving incorrect information and then ultimately being taken down. 

As a result, we thought we would take this opportunity to give you an outline of the rules that are causing some of the issues that you need to be aware of, as well as give you access to our own passport validity checker – read the article, use the checker, and you should be left with no doubt about what you can and cannot do with your passport.

Happy travelling! 

The Quick Answer

If your passport is nine and a half years old, you might be best off getting it renewed prior to travelling. 

Travel Rules to be Aware Of

UK passports are issued for ten years for adults, and five years for children. There is some confusion around this, however, as if you renew your (or your children’s) passports before they expire, then the time is added on – which can result in you having a passport that is perfectly valid, but is more than ten (or five) years old.

You are not allowed to travel in the EU if your passport is more than ten years old. So, even though you have a legitimate passport, you can (and will) be denied entry.

Further to this, some borders will not allow you to access their country if your passport is more than nine years and nine months old – they are accounting for the three months of free travel that you would be permitted once admitted (so at the presumed last possible point of exit from the EU, your passport would still not be more than ten years old). 

Some countries are choosing to extend this rule to six months, seemingly arbitrarily. The current European Commission and United Kingdom Government guidelines both suggest that you have at least six months left on your passport to account for this. 

In summary – if your passport is nine and a half years old, you might be best off getting it renewed prior to travelling. 

Travelling to and from Ireland is just the same as prior to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, with no need for the additional three- or six-month buffer on your passport expiry. 

How to use the passport validity checker 

Using our passport validity checker is a very quick three-step process, and is completely free. Be sure to check the passports of everyone you are travelling with, as the timeframes for children's passports are different to those of adults. 

1) Scroll to the Form below
2) Answer the following questions: 
  • Was your passport issued within 10 years of the date you are travelling 
  • When does your passport expire 
  • When do you plan on travelling to Europe 
  • When do you plan on leaving Europe? 

3) Submit your responses, and you will immediately get a result – either stating that you need to renew your passport before you travel, or that you are good to go.

Important Note: The checker tool is intended as a quick checking process, but we do not accept any liability for issues that may occur at the border. If you are concerned that your passport may not be valid, you must double check the rules of the country you are travelling to and see the guidance from the UK Government.

 

The whole process takes less than a minute or two – not much time, for the peace of mind that comes from knowing you will not be denied your holiday at the last minute!