‘10 year rule’ causing mayhem for British passport holders

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It’s a passport rule that hundreds are falling victim to every day with one couple claiming they were treated like “criminals” after being escorted out of the airport, unaware of the new change.

UK passengers are being caught out by the “passport 10 year rule” and being refused boarding on flights to Europe.

UK travellers used to be able to carry up to nine months left on an old passport over to a new one. This meant that a passport could be valid for more than 10 years.

But after Brexit, the rules changed and now British passports need to have been issued less than 10 years before the arrival date and be valid for three months from the final day of a holiday.

That means British passports need to be at least three months away from their expiry date for people leave the EU.

Home Office data suggests 32 million people could be impacted by the new rule and according to The Independent’s travel expert Simon Calder, it’s already something “so many people are falling foul”.

“[A] couple of hundred a day,” he said during a BBC Breakfast interview today on March 27.

British woman Jane Opher said she was left “traumatised” after being told she and her partner couldn’t board their flight from London’s Garwick airport to Barcelona, despite having already checked in online

“I was just saying to my partner that I must renew my passport soon, as we walked along the bridge to get to the boarding gate,” she told the BBC.

“It was very stressful and humiliating to have to be escorted back through the airport like a criminal.”

The 61-year-old architect was on her way to see friends but her trip ended up costing a further £400 ($780) after being forced to pay for replacement flights and a fast track passport because of the new rule.

Ms Orpher said the issue was “a technicality” the airlines should be able to deal with.

“I feel lucky I was going on holiday and it wasn’t an urgent visit like a funeral,” she told the publication.

“As someone who used to live in Spain, I feel angry that I cannot go to Spain as easily as I used to,” she added.

Lara Barnes, 57, was also denied boarding a flight from Liverpool to Majorica last October, losing £1,200 ($2,300) on the trip.

Ms Barnes told the BBC she at first thought the woman at the check-in counter was joking.

“We had no reason to believe the passport wouldn’t be valid,” she said, adding staff “told us this had been a ruling since Brexit and we should know better”.

Brits have vented their frustration online saying they just want their travel “freedom of movement back”.

“I got refused to fly to Italy yesterday because of this,” a TikTok user wrote.

“Who voted Brexit again can we make them pay?” another wrote, while a third added:

“Brexit the gift that keeps giving. Well done UK.”

According to UK consumer group, Which, if you carry a British passport, it needs to fulfil two criteria when you visit Europe’s Schengen zone.

It must have been issued less than 10 years before the day you enter the EU/Schengen Zone, and it must be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.

“For example, if you’re entering Spain on August 5, 2024 and returning to the UK on August 19, your passport needs to have been issued after August 5, 2014 and be valid until November 19, 2024.

“These passport rules apply to all EU member states except Ireland,” the consumer body states on its site.

“They also apply to other countries and microstates in Europe’s Schengen zone: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, and Monaco.”

According to Which, up until 2018, the UK government allowed for unspent time on passports to be added to the new passport when renewing, meaning some UK passports are valid for more than 10 years.

“This didn’t matter while the UK was in the EU because passports were valid up to and including the expiry date. But you will now be denied entry if your passport issue date was more than 10 years ago.”

Which also added that British tourists don’t need a visa for short visits to the Schengen zone.

“You can stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period as a British passport holder. This means you can visit as many Schengen countries as you like as long as you don’t exceed 90 days in total within 180 days.”

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