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Published on Thursday, February 13, 2020

Britons with valid passports could be barred from EU from 2021

British travellers will need at least six months left on their passports to enter most EU countries from January 1 next year.

HM Passports has confirmed that although Britons will be able to enter the EU up until the expiry date of their passports for the rest of this year, during which it has negotiated a transition period with the EU, that will no longer be the case from 2021.

Under EU rules, anyone arriving from countries outside the EU must have at least six months left on their passports.

As EU countries consider passports to have expired 10 years after the date of issue, this means that British passports issued for longer periods (to take into account unused months from previous passports) might not be accepted as valid for travel to the EU after January 1, 2021.

Until September 2018, British passports could be issued for up to 10 years and nine months, so some Britons with up to 15 months left on their passports might be refused entry to the EU from next year. This will mean that Britons planning to travel to the EU might have to renew passports up to 15 months early.

The rules also apply to travel to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino and the Vatican City as well as to most EU countries.

They do not apply to the Republic of Ireland, for which passports are not legally necessary due to the Common Travel Agreement.

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