The summer holidays are approaching and it's important to double check your passport expiry date. While the end of summer may seem like a while away, the lengthy wait to get documents renewed means now is the time to do it.
Parents should check their children's passports as well as their own. Brits without a valid passport will be turned away from the plane – and a speedy replacement might not be on the cards.
The UK's Passport Office advises leaving 10 weeks for the renewal process to be completed, from the moment officials receive all the required documents including your old passport. According to passportwaitingtime.co.uk, the current average wait is 23 days, which means the new document should be with applicants in the middle of June – leaving decent wiggle room for delays.
READ MORE: Three important travel rules to know for 2023 – including new EU entry fee
However, after five weeks of strikes at the Passport Office, any backlogs may begin to show in the amount of time it takes to get your passport back. You should also be aware of how much time you need on your passport to enter various countries – it can range from three to six months.
Holidaymakers are urged not to book trips until they've got their new passports as the waits can be significantly longer, particularly in busy periods leading up to significant holidays. If the full 10-week wait is needed, then an application made now would be returned at the end of July.
Parents should apply for a child's passport on their behalf if they are under 16, with a new document costing £53.50 to apply online and £64 with a paper form from the Post Office. A child passport is valid for five years rather than the 10 years an adult's is valid for, so it may have expired quicker than you were expecting, especially if you've not been away since before the coronavirus lockdowns.
You can get more info on gov.uk/get-a-child-passport.
Since the UK left the European Union, different rules have been in force governing how long left you should have on a passport when you travel. Now, everyone who holds a British passport must follow the Schengen area requirements for trips to any EU country except Ireland. Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are also covered by the regulations.
While travel is still free – until bloc wide visa arrangements come in next year – there is now more potential for snags. Although most people know their passports should be valid for at least three months after the day they plan to leave, there are extra requirements in place since Brexit.
Your passport must also have been issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country. Many travellers have been caught out because they think their passports are valid as they are not due to expire for some time.
If you or your child turn up at an airport with an invalid passport you may be denied entry to EU countries. You can check your issue date in your passport, which will be written under the 'date of issue' headline.
If your passport was issued before October 1, 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date, but these months will not be valid for people entering the EU. It's also worth checking on the Foreign Office's website to make sure you meet the entry requirements of the destination country before booking your trip. The rule change may be small, but it is enough to completely scupper a trip if not followed properly.
Travel warning as airport strikes will 'inevitably' lead to summer cancellations
You should also make sure that your passport doesn't have any tears or rips in it. TikTok creator Arabella Leat, @arabellaelizabethleat, experienced just that when she planned to travel to Thailand with her mum. She was forced to return home alone that same day.
The entire debacle was all caused by a tiny mistake – Arabella’s passport had a small rip in it. She explained: “Boom, you’re not allowed on your flight, your passports damaged. This was a sad moment, we realise that I actually wasn’t flying and I told [mum] to go without me. Look how sad she is she hates flying on her own.”
Arabella offered some advice to her followers and said: “Guys, make sure you look after your passport.”
Source: Read Full Article