Do I need 6 months on my passport to visit France or Spain 2022 after Brexit?

We look at how much time you need on your passport - and if it requires 6 months' validity left - to visit Spain or France and other EU countries in 2022. This as backlogs at HM Passport offices threaten misery for travellers looking to renew their documents after Covid lockdowns.

Here is how to make sure you are up to date with the latest rules on how much time you need to be left on your passport for travel to Spain, France and beyond for summer, autumn and winter holidays in 2022. We also look at other documents required to travel.

Allow up to 10 weeks or more for your passport to be renewed or issued in summer 2022

Renewing your passport could take up to 10 weeks the Home Office Passport Office has warned. The easing of Covid restrictions has resulted in a surge of applications to HM Passport Office, resulting in well-publicised delays 

The Passport Office will expect to process seven million passport applications in a normal year, but this fell to just four million during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. 

A surge in passport applications has further choked the system in 2022 as people renew expired documents, while others react to post-Brexit requirements to have at least 3 months' validity remaining on passports to visit many locations in Europe.

Director General of Her Majesty’s Passport Office, Abi Tierney, said: "It is vital those who may need to apply for a new passport do so now. If you have delayed renewing your passport or are applying for the first time, please apply now so you can receive it in good time."

If you are travelling this summer but have enough time left on the passport, then it may be more sensible to delay renewing it until after the peak season - but be sure to read the following advice to ensure you have sufficient validity for your trip to France, Spain and other European destinations. 

Additionally, even if a passport is processed within the 10-week timeframe mentioned above, many applicants are facing long waits for the document to be delivered because TNT, which has a contract to deliver passports for the UK Passport Office, has been having difficulties keeping up with the added demand.

How much time you need left on your passport explained for Spain and France

With the Brexit transition period having ended on 31 December 2020, it is essential to understand how important passport validity is for travelling to the likes of France and Spain and other EU countries. Read on to find out what additional validity you may require on your passport.

Time left on your passport should be measured from when it was issued 

If you renew your passport early, the additional months added may not count towards the amount of validity required to enter some countries - or even board a plane/ferry that is heading there. Make sure the issue date displayed on your passport allows for the validity required for your trip. 

If in doubt, as the information provided by authorities is often vague, the best option is to contact your airline or travel operator directly as soon as possible to have the passport date validated, or otherwise, by them. Try to get this in writing.

Taking time to check this could save your holiday from being cancelled." 

Do I need 6 months left on my adult or my child's passport to visit Spain in 2022?

No - this is not the case, unless you are planning to use the full 90-day period you are permitted to stay in Spain as a non-resident. While many websites claim all people will need 6 months' validity on their British passport when travelling to Spain, official advice from the government states that you will need just 3 months' validity from the time you leave Spain to travel back to the UK or another country.

In addition, child passports should also have at least 3 months’ validity remaining from the date of leaving Spain. Extra months on an adult passport due to early renewal will not count, so some passport holders will need more than 3 months remaining to travel.

The 3 months needed when leaving a country must be within 10 years of the passport issue date.

Some rules on passport validity can change at short notice - check UK Government’s foreign travel website for information before booking.

Do I need 6 months left on my adult or my child's passport to visit France in 2022?

No - you will most likely not need 6 months' left on your British passport when travelling to France - unless you are planning to stay there for more than the full 90-day period allowed for non-resident visitors. Official advice on entry requirements to France from the government make it clear that you will require just 3 months' validity from the time you leave France to return to the UK or another country.

Both adult and child passports should have at least 3 months’ validity remaining from the date of leaving Spain travel. Extra months on an adult passport due to early renewal will not count, so some passport holders will need more than 3 months remaining to travel.

The 3 months needed when leaving a country must be within 10 years of the passport issue date.

It is estimated that about five million UK citizens hold passports that are valid for less than 12 months, meaning they should consider renewing now if they plan to travel in the new year. 

Some rules on passport validity can change at short notice - check UK Government’s foreign travel website for information before booking.

easyJet drops the requirement for 6 months' validity left on passports - and what other airlines say...

Airline easyJet has now updated advice on how long travellers will need left on their passports to board planes. 

Previously the airline had demanded passengers must have '6 months left' on their passport to travel, against official government advice that just three months' validity is required. 

However, the easyJet website has now been updated to say the following about passports:
  • It must be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to depart from the EU or above countries*
  • It must be no more than 10 years' old on the date of travel to the EU or above countries.
The Ryanair website appears to state that the airline is following official government advice with the three-month rule applies for passports not more than ten years old. The Ryanair website says the following: 

UK passport holders travelling into a Schengen member country (except Ireland) as of 1 January 2021 must make sure that their passport:
  •  is valid for at least three months from the date they will leave the Schengen member country, unless the person has a Schengen-issued residence permit or long-term visa.
  • UK passport should not be older than 10 years.

Ryanair's latest policy on passport validity can be found here. Check your airline's validity requirement before you travel.

While requirements from some airlines appear to contradict what the UK Gov.UK website says, travellers are advised to adhere to the requirements stipulated by their airline or face the possibility of being barred from flights - as the carrier has the final say who boards. 

Contact your airline in advance if you have fewer than six months left on your licence and ask them to advise you in writing before you consider renewing your (or a child's passport) as the processing delays could also leave you grounded. 

British Airways' website says 'follow government advice' for passport validity. So three months - with issue date caveat applied - should mean three months from the time you leave the destination for many countries. 

Jet2 has clear information on the post-Brexit passport validity you should adhere to when flying with the airline to the likes of France and Spain. The information on the airline's website sets out the following information about document validity:

  • Most EU countries now require UK passports to be less than ten years old and still be valid for at least three months at the time you're due to leave their country.
TUI says on its website that travellers should adhere to government advice, so the three-month rule for valid passports should suffice for travellers heading out of the UK to EU countries.

The TUI site states:
  • Visit the Gov.uk website for detailed, up-to-date information on passport validity. 

ESSENTIAL TRAVEL NEWS 2022 - READ HERE

 

How long will I need on a child’s passport when travelling to EU countries in 2022?

The same advice, as above, applies to a child's passport. Make sure they have at least 3 months' validity.

The UK Government has created a new online tool that allows travellers to check passport validity for travel to EU countries and beyond after Brexit. See below.  
 

UK passport validity checker for travel to France or Spain in 2022

The official Government tool to check passport validity has now been removed. Use the following page to find information for your destination when travelling to France, Spain and other EU countries in 2022.


Use the passport information checker to see if you are covered for trips to France, Spain and other EU countries after 1 January 2021.

Will extra months be added to your passport - because of early renewal - count towards required validity?

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to the expiry date. These extra months on your 10-year passport will not count towards the 3-month rule –- meaning you are likely to need more than 3 months of validity. Check it here to see how your passport is impacted.


 

 

How long is the processing time for passports at the moment?

There are big delays in some passport processing offices at the moment - caused by the end of Covid travel restrictions and other factors - with the official advice from HM Passport Office putting process times of up to 10 weeks at present. However, some people are reporting longer or much shorter processing times. Get the latest HM Passport Office processing times here.

Can I get my holiday money back if my passport does not arrive?

Travel insurance will not cover you if you cannot travel because you don’t have a valid passport. This is regardless of blame.

However, the Passport Office may reimburse, some or all of the costs, if it is “clearly at fault” as a goodwill gesture.

The Gov.UK website says that HM Passport Office will "reimburse customers for the entire cost of a holiday" if the holiday was cancelled over failures to "meet a guaranteed Premium or Fast Track service".

 

Do I need 6 months left on my passport when travelling to Ireland?

No! You will not need to have 6 months' validity left on your passport when travelling across the Irish Sea to the Republic of Ireland after December 31, 2020. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay, however.

Countries the require 6 months left on a passport

Outside of the UK, there are countries that require 6 months' validity. Here are the countries requiring 6 months to enter. Correct at time of writing.

 
Afghanistan
Algeria
Anguilla
Bahrain
Bhutan
Botswana
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Cambodia
Cameroon
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Chad
Comoros
Côte D’Ivoire
Curacao
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Fiji
Gabon
Guinea Bissau
Guyana
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kenya
Kiribati
Laos
Madagascar
Malaysia
Marshall Islands
Micronesia
Myanmar
Namibia
Nicaragua
Nigeria
Oman
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
Qatar
Rwanda
Saint Lucia
Samoa
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Solomon Islands
Somalia
Somaliland
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Timor-Lesse
Tokelau
Tonga
Tuvalu
Uganda
United Arab Emirates
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zimbabwe

 

Will I need a visa to travel to EU countries after Brexit and in 2022?

The EU confirmed that UK travellers won't need a visa now the Brexit transition period has ended (on December 31, 2020), if travelling on short-term trips of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

Will I need to get a new passport without ‘European Union’ on the cover?

No. While the UK will be creating a new Brit-only version of the passport, your current document will be accepted.

Passports issued after January 31st, 2020, will have all references to the European Union removed from the cover and internal pages.

What countries are affected by the new passport rules after Brexit on January 31st, 2020?

The new passport validity advice for No-Deal travel to the EU is likely to affect the following countries...

 
Andorra
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Monaco
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
San Marino
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Vatican City

What can I do if I have less than 3 months left on my, or my child’s passport?

Adults can get a fast-track passport in as little as a day if they apply for an appointment online – even though getting one of these will take at least two days. This costs from £177 and cannot be used for children. Apply for the online premium passport renewal here.

If you’re looking to renew a child’s passport or have a little more time, a one-week online system is available. This costs from £142 for an adult, and £122 for a child. You will be required to attend an appointment at a nearby post office. Find out how to apply for the fast-track passport and other renewal fees here.

How to renew your passport in 2022 if required

If you have discovered that you have not got enough validity on your passport, or haven't got one at all - we look at how you or your children can apply for a new or renewed document to ensure your holiday is not put in danger of being cancelled.  

Adult first passport:
People who can apply:
British National
Aged 16 or over (or in the next 3 weeks)
Never had a UK Passport before
Child is over 16 (or in the next 3 weeks) and has never had a British passport
Passport validity:
10 years
Cost of passport:
Adult (16 and over) standard 34-page document
• Apply online: £75.50
• Apply by form: £85

Adult (16 and over) 50-page frequent traveller passport
• Apply online: £85.50
• Apply by form: £95

Time to process application:
Up to 10 weeks
Required documents:
Apply online:
• A digital photo of you
• Someone who can confirm your identity
• Supporting documents
• A credit or debit card to make payment

Apply with by form:
• A completed application form
• Two identical printed passport photos
• A counter-signatory who can sign passport photos
• Supporting documents

Online premium service:
Not available
One-week fast-track service:
Not available on this application

Adult passport renewal:
People who can apply:
UK resident
Aged 16 or over or 16 in the next 3 weeks
Passport validity:
10 years
Cost:
• Online: £75.50
• Apply by form: £85

Time to process application:
Up to 10 weeks
Required documents:
Renew online:
• A digital photo
• Credit or debit card
• Your current/expired passport

Renew using a paper application form:
• 2 current identical printed photos.

Online premium service:
Adult standard 34-page passport:
• £177

Adult 50-page frequent traveller passport:
• £187

People who can apply:
• Restricted to those renewing an adult passport issued after 31 December 2001

Time to process application:
• At least 2 days from date of application for appointment.
• Appointment will last up to 30 minutes
• Passport processed and handed over during the appointment

Documents required to apply, book appointment and pay:
• Your current/expired passport
• Device that takes digital photos and person to take photo
• A digital photo

Required documents for your appointment:
• Current/expired passport

1 week fast-track service:
Adult standard 34-page passport:
• £142

Adult 50-page frequent traveller passport:
• £152

People who can apply:
• Those renewing adult or child passport that has expired or will do soon
Change personal details on your passport (including your name, place of birth or gender)
• To replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport

Time to process application:
• Delivered to applicant’s home address within 1 week of original appointment

Documents required:
• 2 printed passport photos
• Completed application form
• Supporting documents

 

Adult passport replacement:

People who can apply:
• UK resident
• Aged 16 or over (or turning 16 in the next 3 weeks) to get an adult passport
• If your passport has been lost, stolen or damaged

When you will need to apply:
Passports must be replaced if suffering has more than reasonable wear and tear.
Passport validity:
10 years
Cost:
• Online: £75.50
• Apply by form: £85

Time to process application:
Up to 10 weeks
Required Paperwork:
Replace online:
• Digital photo
• Credit or debit card

Replace using paper form:
• 2 current and identical printed photos.
• The application form and 1 of your photos signed by qualifying person to prove your identity.

Online premium service:
Not available for this service
1 week fast-track service:
Adult standard 34-page passport:
• £142

Adult 50-page frequent traveller passport:
• £152

People who can apply:
• Those renewing an adult or child passport that has expired or will soon expire
• Those changing personal details on their passport (including the likes of name, place of birth or gender)
• To replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport

Time to process application:
• Delivered to applicant’s home within 1 week of appointment

Required document you must bring to the appointment:
• 2 identical passport photos
• Completed  application form
• Required supporting documents

Additional stipulations:
• A video interview may be required.

Adult passport: Amendments to personal details

People who can apply:
• UK resident
• Aged 16 or over (or in the next 3 weeks) to get an adult passport
• If passport has been lost, stolen or damaged

When amendments be required:
You’ll need to get a new passport if you change any of the following:
• Name
• Gender
• Appearance – if you cannot be recognised from your passport photo anymore (for example, you’ve had cosmetic surgery)

Passport validity:
10 years
Cost:
• Online: £75.50
• Apply by form: £85

Time to process application:
Up to 10 weeks
Required documents:
Marriage or civil partnership:
• Before the ceremony: a ‘passports for newlyweds and civil partners’ form with your documents, signed by the religious minister or registrar who will be conducting the upcoming ceremony.
• After the ceremony: marriage or civil partnership certificate

Divorce or reverting to a former name:
• Birth certificate
• Statement signed by you confirming you are reverting to a previous surname ‘for all purposes’.
• Document that shows you are using your new name (such as a payslip, or letter from your local council)
• Decree absolute or final order with both names
• Marriage or civil partnership certificate showing both names

Gender Change (one of the following will be required):
• Gender recognition certificate
• New birth or adoption certificate showing your gender
• Letter from a doctor or medical consultant confirming your change of gender is expected to be permanent (additional documentation required if changing the name at the same time)
Titles and minor changes to forenames – two of the following documents will be required:
• Letter from the local council or government dept
• Driving licence
• Bank statement
• Baptism or confirmation certificate

Other names changes:
• Deed poll
• Statutory declaration
• An affidavit

Online premium service:
Not available for this service
1 Week fast-track service:
Adult standard 34-page passport:
• £142

Adult 50-page frequent traveller passport:
• £152

People who can apply:
• To renew an adult or child passport that has expired or will do so soon
• To change personal details on a passport (such as name, place of birth or gender)
• To replace lost, stolen or damaged passport

Time to process application:
• New passport delivered to applicant’s address within 1 week of the appointment

Required paperwork to bring to the appointment:
• 2 identical passport photos
• Completed application form
• Your supporting documents

Child first passport:

People who can apply:
• Your child must have British nationality to be eligible for a British passport.
• If your child is aged under 16
• Someone with parental responsibility for the child must apply for the passport.

When this passport will be required:
• If a child is under 16 and has never had a British passport
• A child is under 16 and has a British passport but some of their details have changed

Passport validity:
5 years
Cost:
• Online: £49
• Apply by form: £58.50

Time to process application:
Up to 10 weeks
Required Paperwork:
Apply online:
• A digital photo of child
• Supporting documents
• Credit or debit card

Apply by post:
• 2 current photos of your child
• Child’s full birth or adoption certificate
• Proof that the child has British nationality (such as a British registration certificate, parents’ passport details or parents’ birth certificates)
• Valid passports from third-party country belonging to the child
• Any court orders relating to the child (such as those that describe parental responsibility or residency arrangements)

Online premium service:
Not available for this service
1 Week fast-track service:
Child standard passport:
• £122

Child 50-page frequent traveller passport:
• £132

Additional stipulations:
• Person with parental responsibility must sign the form. If the child is 12 to 15 they must also sign the form.
• You need to give both parents’ details when you apply. If you cannot provide the other parent’s details, you need to explain the reason why (such as you adopted the child on your own).

Child passport renewals or changes

People who can apply:
• British nationality
When this passport will be required:
• The child is under 16 and has a British passport
Validity of passport:
5 years
Cost:
Child (-16) standard 34-page passport:
• Apply online: £49
• Apply by paper form: £58.50

Child (under 16) 50-page frequent traveller passport:
• Apply online: £59
• Apply by Paper Form: £68.50

Time to process application:
Up to 10 weeks
Documents required:
• The child’s old passport
• Any valid passports from a third-party country your child might be on possession of
• Court orders relating to the child
• Digital or printed photos of the child.

Online premium service:
Not available for this service
1 Week fast track service:
Child Standard Passport:
• £122

Child 50-page frequent traveller passport:
• £132

Additional stipulations:
• If the child is 12 to 15 they also need to sign the form.
• If the child’s name or other personal details have changed, you can’t renew their passport, but must apply for a new passport.

ESSENTIAL TRAVEL NEWS 2022 - READ HERE

 



DISCLAIMER: Check the latest passport rules on validity before booking here

Pete Barden has written and edited for publications including The Sun, Whatcar? Stuff Magazine, Fastcar Magazine, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP).

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