Portugal passport and document warning for British travellers

Portugal has announced an important passport requirement update for Brits. ChronicleLive reports visitors from the UK arriving at airports including Lisbon, Porto, Faro and Funchal were told earlier this month that they will be fast-tracked through check-ins, similar to EU citizens.

The move allowed Brits to use eGates to avoid passport control queues while visitors from many other non-EU countries have to wait in line to have their passports manually checked and stamped. It was widely welcomed as Portugal is one of the favourite holiday destinations for Brits.

The UK Government website has now updated its travel advice for holidaymakers. It follows clarification of entry requirements from Portuguese border control.

The update relates to passport stamping and will clear up confusion among some British holidaymakers over how to use the eGates fast-track system. The latest guidance makes clear that the eGates for UK passport holders are “separate to the eGates for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens”.

It states: “On arrival or departure, check you are eligible to use the eGates and that you are in the right queue. When using an eGate, your entry/exit is recorded on the computer system.

“A border officer may also stamp your passport after you have passed through the eGate. This is for airport operational reasons.”

The Government is asking Brits to make sure that their passports are stamped by border officers – even if they use the eGate system. “If you use a manned booth, check that your passport is stamped by the border officer when you enter or exit as a visitor,” says the guidance.

“You can use the manned staffed immigration booths or, if you are aged 18 and over, the eGates designated for UK and some other non-EU nationals. Hand your passport for stamping to the border officer after you have passed through the eGate.”

The travel update has been issued so that UK holidaymakers understand the important role passport stamps and eGate records play in policing and enforcing its 90-day visa-free limit for short stays. The guidance states: “Border guards use passport stamps and eGate records to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area.”

The Schengen Area, separate to the EU, is a group of 26 European countries, including Portugal, that agreed to abolish their internal borders to help with the free and unrestricted movement of people. The updated UK travel advice adds: “If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport or visible to a border officer on the computer system, a border officer will may presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.”

UK travellers are also being advised to keep their travel documents handy when visiting Portugal. The update continues: “If you are missing entry/exit stamps, you can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area and ask the border officer to add this date and location in your passport.”

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https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/portugal-passport-document-warning-british-7128620