As the summer holidays are quickly approaching many Brits will be looking to jet away abroad for a holiday.
But, as the Home Office has warned renewals could be delayed due to a backlog caused by the Covid pandemic, UK passport holders are being urged to check their documents within plenty of time before they travel. The current delays mean getting new documents could take up to 10 weeks, reported The Mirror.
While passports expire, that’s not the only thing that you need to check on them. There are other factors to take into account including your issue date which could make your passport invalid for travel.
The expiry date
It may sound obvious, but your passport’s expiry date is key. The Home Office has estimated that over five million people delayed their passport renewals in 2020 and 2021, as travel was largely off the cards (including a ban on foreign travel during peak lockdowns).
In the excitement of finally getting to head abroad again, it’s easy to forget to check your documents are still valid, so make sure to check your passport’s expiry date. It’s also worth noting that the expiry date needs to be valid after you’ve travelled too.
The date of issue
A large number of EU countries in the Schengen Area require your passport to be no more than 10 years old from the point of issue. However, when you take into account that your passport also needs to be valid at least three to six months after travel, you need to ensure you meet both sets of criteria to visit a country.
For example, Portugal requires your passport to be valid three months after travel, so your passport will need to have been issued nine years and nine months before your travel date. Previously, UK passports were issued and essentially allowed for this buffer, but following the UK’s exit from the EU, this doesn’t apply in the same way.
Again the best place to check exact requirements for your destination is on gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. But it’s also worth speaking to your airline or tour operator if you’re unsure.
Check your passport for damage
A damaged passport could be deemed as invalid by border control on either side of your journey, so it’s important to keep this document in a safe place. Still, accidents happen – and if your passport is damaged, you’ll need to apply for a new one.
There are various factors which could mean a passport is deemed to be invalid. For example, if your personal details are unreadable, if there are any pages which are ripped or missing, or if the pages have been damaged by water. Any unexpected markings or writings could also mean your passport isn’t deemed suitable.
You can find out more about renewing a damaged passport on the website here – gov.uk/renew-adult-passport/replace.
Use the Foreign Office advice checklist
The Foreign Office has issued a specific pre-travel checklist for Brits to use as guidance before holidays, and this includes key information on passports and visas.