AFTER Brexit on January 31, there are different rules around passport validity for Brits travelling to Europe.
And whether you need to renew your travel documents before you go will depend on when you go.
Why are the rules around passport validity changing?
After January 31, the UK will enter into a transition period until December 31, 2020.
During this time, the UK government will negotiate new trade agreements.
While this happens, passport requirements won’t change – you just need your British passport to be valid for the duration of your stay.
But after the transition period ends, you will need up to 15 months of validity left on your passport, depending on how old it is.
Why do I need 15 months left on my passport?
At the moment, Brits who renew their passport before it’s expired can carry up to nine months over to their new passport.
So a new passport can have the maximum validity of 10 years and nine months.
After the transition period, Brits visiting Schengen Area countries, including Spain, France and Greece, will be governed by the same rules as visitors from non-EU countries.
This means that they will need at least six months left on their passport to enter the EU, and their passport must have been issued in the last ten years.
It creates a loophole that makes the extra nine months that were carried over invalid in the Schengen Area.
That’s why Brits who carried over the full nine months when they last renewed would need at least 15 months left on the passport after Brexit – nine months to account for the now-invalid time carried over, plus six months for the required validity.
How to check whether you need to renew your passport for free
The rules are confusing but fortunately, you just need to ask yourself two questions to check if you’re travelling to Europe from January 1, 2021.
The first is, do you have at least six months left on your passport?
The second is, is your passport less than ten years old?
If you answered yes to both questions, you won’t need to renew your passport.
Remember, there are different rules for travelling to non-European countries so you should always double check before you go.
After Brexit, you could start seeing blue passports instead of burgundy ones.
Make sure you have the most up to date information on how Brexit will affect your travel here.
This will including using the EHIC as well as requirements for drivers.