Travel to the EU Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (the Schengen Area) will change from 1 January 2021.
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 and entered a Transition Period until the end of the year. The UK and EU are in the process of negotiating arrangements for the Future Relationship that will come into effect from 1 January 2021.
During the transition period there will be no change for travel to Europe and there will be no requirement for British passports to have a minimum or maximum validity remaining when you enter or leave the Schengen Area.
Travel after 31 December 2020
After 31 December 2020, if you are a British passport holder (including those passports issued by the Jersey Passport Office) you will be considered a third country national under the Schengen Border Code and will therefore need to comply with different rules to enter and travel around the Schengen Area.
According to the Schengen Border Code, third country passports must:
- have been issued within the last 10 years on the date of arrival in a Schengen country
- have at least three months validity remaining on the date of intended departure from the last country visited in the Schengen Area. Because third country nationals can remain in the Schengen Area for 90 days, the actual check carried out could be that the passport has at least 6 months validity remaining on the date of arrival
Check your passport issue and expiry date
If you're planning to visit the Schengen Area after 31 December 2020 you should check:
- the issue date of your adult passport and renew it in good time if it will be older than 9 years and 6 months
- check your child’s passport has at least six months validity left before the expiry date on the day of travel
If your passport does not meet the criteria, you may be denied entry to any of the Schengen area countries.
For more information see the Schengen Border Code on the European Union Law website.
Passports with validity over 10 years
Since 2001, some adult British passports were issued with a validity longer than 10 years. This is because if you renewed your passport before it expired you were allowed to have the time left on your old passport added to your new passport. The maximum validity period possible was 10 years and 9 months. This means that you can't use the expiry date to check if your adult passport will be valid under the new Schengen Border Rules.
From 10 September 2018 extra validity was no longer added to British passports and the maximum validity for a new adult British passport will be 10 years, and for a child passport it will be five years. This change has been made to follow recommendations set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and to help provide clarity about passport validity in the future.
Countries within the Schengen area includes:
- Czech Republic
For travel to countries in the EU but not in the Schengen area (Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus) you will need to check the entry requirements for that country before you travel.
Travel to Ireland is subject to separate Common Travel Area arrangements which will be maintained after the UK leaves the EU.
Renew your passport
You can renew a passport at any time. Don’t wait until you need to travel.
Apply for a passport