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Published on Friday, January 11, 2019

SPAA warns on passport validity as Brexit crash-out looks more likely

The Scottish Passenger Agents' Association (SPAA) is calling on passengers who plan to jet off to Europe after Brexit to check their passports, or risk being stranded at the airport.

The SPAA has backed a call to action from HM Passport Office, which is ramping up its preparations for a no-deal Brexit scenario, for travellers to make sure they have at least six months left on their passport after March 29.

SPAA president Ken McLeod said customers who plan to travel abroad should check now to see whether they need to renew their passport earlier than they had anticipated, and not leave it until the last minute.

He added: "It looks increasingly likely that the UK is going to come out of the European Union without a deal, and we need to be prepared for that scenario.

"We're not only asking the public to be aware of passport validity, but consulting with all of our member travel agents to ensure they pass the message on to customers and make sure they take action.

"We've asked them to contact customers who have already booked travel - and who will be doing so up to March - to check the expiry dates on their passport.

"While UK passport holders will still be able to travel to EU countries, they must have at least six months on their passport to cover the entire length of their stay from start to finish.

"If there is no deal, the rules on travelling to most countries in Europe will change and the last thing we want is for passengers to miss out on holidays or business trips."

McLeod said the SPAA had previously raised concerns about the impact of Brexit on the travel industry and Scots passengers with MSPs over issues such as consumer protection and Air Passenger Duty and Air Departure Tax. However, with just a matter of weeks to go, there arestill too many unanswered questions.

For example, it is still unclear whether or not UK drivers who currently have EU licences would also need to have an international driving permit allowing them to drive on the continent.  

And there is ambiguity on whether mobile phone roaming charges - quashed by the EU to stop massive bills for holidaymakers calling home or uploading holiday snaps on social media - could end up being reinstated for UK customers.

"There is still a huge amount of uncertainty for UK travellers. Our member travel agents may not have all the answers at this stage, but they have all the latest guidance from the government and will be keeping their customers up to date with any new information that may impact on travel plans," McLeod added.

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