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Holidaymakers Face EU Travel Woes Due to 10-Year Passport Rule –

Brexit Brings Passport Validity Changes for UK Travelers

Since the UK’s departure from the European Union, British travelers heading to EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland (excluding Ireland), are facing stricter passport validity requirements. Passports must have been issued within the past 10 years on the date of travel, and must remain valid for at least three months after the planned return date.

“This ’10-year-rule’ is a problem that continues to catch people out,” said Rory Boland, Travel Editor at Which?. “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.”

Millions Affected, Holidays Disrupted

It is estimated that up to 32 million people applied for new passports before the new rules came into effect. However, the exact number of those impacted remains uncertain. Anecdotal evidence suggests that easily a couple of hundred people per day are being turned away from flights due to non-compliance with the 10-year passport rule.

“Across the year, you could easily find that there’s over 100,000 people who lose their holidays as a result of these rules,” said Simon Calder, travel correspondent at The Independent.

Travelers’ Accounts: Frustration and Financial Losses

Nathan Barnes, a 31-year-old paramedic from Norwich, was one of the unlucky travelers caught off guard by the new passport rules. Despite checking in online and clearing security, he was denied boarding for his flight to Limoges, France, because his passport had been issued more than 10 years ago.

“I was gutted, surprised really. We had checked in online and thought it was fine,” said Barnes.

Jane Opher, a 61-year-old architect from London, faced a similar situation. She and her partner were refused boarding for their flight to Barcelona, even though her passport was not officially expired. The reason? Her passport had been issued on February 10, 2014, more than 10 years before her travel date.

“It was very stressful – I was traumatized – being told I couldn’t board,” Opher told the BBC. “It was also humiliating to have to be escorted back through the airport like a criminal.”

Opher was left hundreds of pounds out of pocket due to the unexpected disruption.

Airlines Defend Their Position

When contacted by the BBC, major airlines and holiday operators did not provide data on the number of passengers refused boarding due to passport issues. However, Airlines UK stated that there was no guarantee that potentially invalid passport details would be picked up in advance, and that it was the responsibility of the traveler to ensure they have a valid travel document.

Renewing Passports: Costs and Timelines

For those planning to travel in the coming months, Simon Calder advised trying to secure an emergency passport appointment to get a new document issued quickly. However, for those with more time before their trips, the regular renewal process can be followed.

Passport renewal fees in the UK are set to increase in April, with a standard online application for an adult passport rising from £82.50 to £88.50, and a passport for under-16s increasing from £53.30 to £57.50.

Travelers are urged to check their passport validity well in advance and take necessary steps to ensure compliance with the 10-year rule to avoid disruptions and financial losses.

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