Foreign Office changes advice on passport rules for EU travel

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

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

It comes after The Independent reported the plight of passengers wrongfully turned away from check-in by airlines due to the discrepancy.

Tips for Spain have been changed to tell British travelers that their passport must be:

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date of entry into the country (check “date of issue”)
  • Valid at least three months after your scheduled day of departure (check the “expiration date”)

Advice on France, Italy and other EU and wider Schengen Area destinations is expected to be updated shortly.

Previously, FCDO travel advice for European Union and Schengen countries included the misleading statement: “For some Schengen countries, your passport may need to be less than 10 years old for the duration of your visit, and the three months at the end of your visit. may need to be within 10 years of the date your passport was issued.

The Independent did its own research and received official confirmation correspondence from the European Commission last November.

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

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: ‘FCDO travel advice is under constant review to ensure UK travelers are aware of the risks and have accurate information to help them plan their journey.

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

The ambivalence of the British government’s position caused widespread confusion and distress.

It has also put additional pressure on the UK passport office, with many travelers requesting the early renewal of perfectly valid passports for travel to Europe.

Airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair previously used Foreign Office travel advice as grounds for denying boarding to passengers who had every right to travel. All major airlines are now aligned with European Commission rules; Ryanair was the last to line up.

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