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Q&A: Is my British passport valid for travel to the EU after Brexit?

Your UK passport needs to meet 2 criteria to be valid for entry into the EU and Schengen area.

by Sharron Livingston

Q&A: Is my British passport valid for travel to the EU after Brexit?

Thanks to a democratic referendum, the UK voted to exit the EU on January 31, 2020. The process dubbed Brexit, meant demotion to a new status for Britain from EU member to “third country”. This means your UK passport is only valid for entry into an EU country and the wider Schengen area if it meets the following two criteria.

So pay attention to the status of your passport. You must ensure:

  • Your passport is less than ten years old on the date of travel (no matter how much time is left on it).
  • You must have at least six months of validity from the date of travel. If it doesn’t you will not be allowed into most EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. This does not apply if you are travelling to Ireland.

You can check if your passport is valid on the government’s check your passport service website.

How to renew your passport

You can either renew your passport online, which costs £75.50, or via a paper application form which is a little more expensive at £85.

Remember that it usually takes three weeks to renew your passport. If you need your passport more urgently, there is a two-day premium service costing £177.

Will we need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?

As it stands British travellers do not need a visa to travel to Europe for stays up to 90 days in every 180 days. What this means is that you can visit several times with a gap of 180 days between visits. You can spend two stretches of three months in the EU each year, but they have to be at least three months apart.

This is due to change sometime in 2025 when ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) comes into being. Some 1.4 billion people from over 60 visa-exempt countries will need to have travel authorisation to enter 30 European countries for a short stay. You can apply for ETIAS here. The fee is expected to be €7 (people over the age of 70 and under 18 are exempt).


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