If you are planning a getaway overseas in the following months, you may need to renew your passport in good time to ensure you receive it for your trip. The UK fast-track service has had a surge of anxious travellers seeking to use the premium service to get their new travel documents sooner.
For many Brits, this summer will also be the first time going on a holiday to an EU country post-Brexit, after two years of Covid-19 restrictions. You may be confused about how much time exactly you will need to have left before your passport expires – stories of people turned away at airports have made the news recently.
We summed up the rules for passport validity for the top 10 overseas destinations people plan to travel to in 2022. According to Travel Association ABTA, these are:
- Spain (29.3%)
- USA (18.1%)
- France (17.8%)
- Italy (16.4%)
- Greece (10.1%)
- Portugal (8.7%)
- Germany (8.2%)
- Australia (5.1%)
- Canada (4.5%)
- Turkey (4.0%)
Heathrow Airport has daily non-stop flights to these destinations via multiple airlines this summer, including British Airways. You may need additional travel documents to enter some of these counties, such as visas. Check the Foreign Office travel advice for the full details.
Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Germany
To travel to Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, or Germany, you must meet the Schengen area rules. This applies generally to any EU country, or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City. The only exception is Ireland.
Your passport must meet the following two requirements. It must be:
- less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)
- valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
These conditions are not combined, explains travel expert Simon Calder in the Independent. For example, if you arrived on December 1 2021 for a 20-day stay in the EU with a passport issued on December 2 2011 and valid until April 2 2022, you would be allowed entry.
How come your passport would be valid for 10 years and 4 months, instead of just 10 years? That is because until 2018, the UK credited extra time when a renewed passport had “unspent” time.
That said, the Foreign Office travel advice takes a cautious approach: “We are asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022. Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.”
In case you are thinking of a larger break backpacking in Europe, keep in mind that you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.
If you are visiting the USA, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. You don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
Travellers who have been pre-approved by the Global Entry scheme can pass faster through border control at some US airports. You can register to get a UK background check on GOV.UK. If you pass the background checks, you’ll be invited to apply for Global Entry.
For entry into Australia, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is needed. ePassport holders can use SmartGates to pass through passport control.
If you are visiting Canada, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
If you are visiting Turkey, your passport should be valid for at least six months from the date you arrive and there should be a full blank page for the entry and exit stamps. Similarly to entry rules for the Schengen area, you can travel without a visa for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
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