THERE are many uncertainties surrounding Brexit, but one thing is for sure. British travellers’ passports will have to valid for at least six more months if they want to visit the EU.
As Britain’s withdrawal from the EU approaches on Friday March 29, travellers may be asking themselves what will happen with holidays they have booked for this year.
The British government has launched a free tool to help passport holders check if their passports will be valid long enough for them to travel to the EU.
The tool is available on the British government’s website. It recommends that travellers check if their passport will be valid after the March 29 withdrawal date. Airlines have also advised passengers to check whether their passports will still be valid for EU travel.
The online tool asks users about their country of destination, date of travel, date of birth, the date the passport was issued and the passport expiry date.
Passport holders should bear in mind that this travel information will only in the event that Britain leaves the EU without a deal.
British travellers can currently go to any EU country as long as their passport is valid on the day of return.
If a 10-year adult passport was renewed, extra months could have been added making it valid for more than ten years. But these months will not count towards the six months validity needed on the document from the date of travel.
In the case of a no-deal scenario, people with a British passport will be considered as ‘third country nationals’ as regards to the passport free Schengen area. The term ‘third country’ refers to states outside the EU.
The Schengen area includes 26 European countries that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border controls at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy.
The countries in the Schengen area are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
A passport is not needed to travel to Ireland, as the British government says that travelling to Ireland will not change after Brexit.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania will have their own travel requirements as they are in the EU but not in the Schengen area. The British government tool allows people to check if their passport is valid to visit these countries too.