British tourists using red passports hit by urgent ‘act now’ warning | Travel News | Travel

Britons are being warned about a 10-year passport rule which could spark misery for travellers heading to the European Union. After Brexit, EU countries won’t accept passports which were issued more than a decade ago.

Figures cited by the BBC from the Home Office suggest 32 million people applied for passports which, if granted, would now be more than 10 years old.

Paramedic Nathan Barnes, 31, from Norwich, told the broadcaster he was refused entry onto a flight to Limoges, France, with his fiancé.

Mr Barnes said he waas stopped at the departure gate after checking in online, passing through security and passport control.

He added his passport had been issued more than 10 years before, saying: “They were very matter of fact about it. They just said, ‘Sorry, you can’t board. Off you pop’. I was gutted.”

Under the rules, if you plan to visit the EU you will need to renew your passport if it is 10 years old or more on the day you enter the EU country. You should count it from the date your passport was issued.

You will also need to renew your passport if there’s less than three months left on it at any time while you’re travelling.

The rules apply to Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein as well as EU countries, but not including Ireland.

If a British passport was issued before September 2018 it could still be valid for up to 10 years and nine months.

Before that date the passport office would add up to nine months from an old passport onto a new one.

Rory Boland, Travel Editor at Which?, told the BBC the 10-year rule is an issue that still catches people out. He said: “What’s really important is that you check your passport validity and expiry date when booking your holiday.

“Not when you go to check-in, and certainly not when you travel to the airport.”

Mr Boland said that’s when people continually find out their passport is out of date and by that time it is often too expensive and too complicated to save their holiday.

He estimated more than 100,000 people’s trips are spoilt as a result of the rules and has written to airlines, urging them to do more to raise awareness.

Airlines UK has said airlines do issue reminders, but there is no guarantee invalid passports will be detected in advance.

For the latest updates on passport requirements, you should visit the Home Office’s website.

Earlier this month the Home Office announced passport fees will rise by more than seven percent in April. The cost of online applications made within the UK for people aged 16 and above will increase from £82.50 to £88.50 under the proposals.

Passports for children under 16 will cost £57.50, up from £53.50 currently. There are similar rises in fees for postal applications and those made from overseas. The changes are due to come into force from April 11. Passport fees rose by around nine percent in February last year.

The Home Office said the new fees will help ensure income from these applications better meets the cost of delivering passport and associated operations, reducing reliance on funding from general taxation.

It added: “The Government does not make any profit from the cost of passport applications. The fees contribute to the cost of processing passport applications, consular support overseas including for lost or stolen passports, and the cost of processing British citizens at UK borders.

“The increase will also help enable the Government to continue improving its services.”

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