Foreign Office changes advisory on passport rules for EU travel

After dozens of air travelers were wrongly told they could not fly, the Foreign Office has finally changed its advice on the validity of passports for travel within the EU.

Officials changed the wording of the travel advice to bring them in line with the European Commission.

comes after Independent Passengers’ plight reports during check-in were incorrectly discarded by airlines due to gaps.

Tips have been changed for Spain. To let British travelers know that their passport must be:

  • Issued at least 10 years prior to the date of entry into the country (check “Date of issue”)
  • Valid for at least three months after the scheduled day of departure (check “expiry date”)

The advice on France, Italy and other broader EU and Schengen destinations should be updated soon.

Previously, the FCDO travel advisory for the European Union and Schengen countries included the misleading statement: “For some Schengen countries, your passport must be less than 10 years old for the duration of your visit, and for three months after the end of your visit.” You may have to be within 10 years from the date your passport is issued.

Independent conducted its research and received official confirmation correspondence from the European Commission last November.

On 10 November 2021, correspondence was sent to the Foreign Office with the request “to ensure that all UK Government communications acknowledge the correct position of the European Union”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “FCDO travel advice is constantly reviewed to ensure that UK travelers are aware of the risks and have accurate information to help them plan their travel .

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“We welcome that the European Commission is updating its guidance on its rules affecting certain British passports”

The ambiguity of the position of the British government caused widespread confusion and distress.

This has put additional pressure on the UK Passport Office, with many travelers requesting an early renewal of fully valid passports to travel to Europe.

Airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair have previously used Foreign Office travel advisories to deny boarding to passengers who were fully entitled to travel. All major airlines are now compliant with European Commission regulations; Ryanair was the last player to line up.

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