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Revealed: The pernickety passport rules Brits NEED to know before the Easter getaway – including EU regulations over issue dates and why travellers should count their blank pages

The Easter getaway is just around the corner.

But here we reveal some finicky new passport rules that could throw your travel plans into disarray.

They’ve been brought in since Britain left the EU and have left some holidaymakers unable to board their flights and trains.

Here’s all you need to know, from the ’10-year rule’ to the ‘blank-page’ regulation.

Plus, we’ve included some handy tips on saving money on your passport renewal.


When travelling to the EU, British holidaymakers should be aware of the ’10-year rule’, and pay close attention to their passport’s issue date and expiry date

When travelling to the EU, a 10-year British passport is only valid for entry for exactly 10 years after the date of issue, regardless of the date of expiry.

Before September 2018, passport holders could have up to nine months added to their passport expiry date if they renewed their 10-year passport early. Post-Brexit, however, although the official validity of your passport may be beyond 10 years, the EU does not recognise these extra months if your passport is older than 10 years on the date that you enter the EU. On top of this, you must also have at least three months’ validity on your passport beyond the date you intend to leave the EU’s free-movement Schengen territory.

This means visitors must pay careful attention to the issue date and the expiry date.

For example, if you enter the EU from the UK on April 1, 2024, and return on April 5, 2024, you must have a passport issued less than 10 years before April 1, and that’s valid for at least three months after April 5.

The passport rules have caught out several British travellers who have found themselves turned away at the airport. Nathan Barnes, a paramedic from Norwich, is one of the latest to be caught up in the confusion when he was refused boarding for a flight to France.

Some holidaymakers have been unable to board their flights and trains due to confusion over EU passport rules  

The 31-year-old was on his way to Limoges with his fiancé to visit family. Despite checking in for the flight online, and making his way through security, he was stopped at the departure gate.

‘My passport had been issued more than 10 years previously,’ he told the BBC. ‘They were very matter-of-fact about it, they just said “sorry, you can’t board, off you pop”.’

To make sure you aren’t caught out, and for further details on EU passport rules, search for ‘documents you need for travel in Europe’ at or visit


Always check the specific entry requirements for the country you are visiting on the website before travelling – the rules around passport validity vary from country to country.

For instance, while most countries such as Australia, Canada and the USA just need your passport to be valid for the length of your stay, other countries such as China, Thailand, Egypt and Turkey need at least six months. As previously mentioned, you will need at least three months’ validity on your passport from the intended day of departure from the EU.


Make sure your passport isn’t full with stamps – some countries require more than two blank pages to enter

If your passport is filling up with stamps and there’s hardly any space left, you need to renew it – even if you’ve got several years left on it. This is because some countries can be fussy about passports with filled pages. For instance, Italy and South Africa require at least two full blank pages.


There’s one simple way to save money when renewing your passport – apply for it online rather than post.

The current fee for a standard online application made from within the UK is £82.50 for adults and £53.50 for children. Postal applications, meanwhile, are £93 for adults and £64 for children. In general, how you choose to renew your passport could end up costing a family of four £40 more than it should.

However, in April, the cost is due to increase. A standard online application made from within the UK is due to rise to £88.50 for adults and £57.50 for children, while a standard postal application is due to increase to £100 for adults and £69 for children.

These price changes are still subject to parliamentary approval, but if given the green light, they’ll come into force from April 11.


Your passport will usually be issued within three weeks if you are applying within the UK, but customers are advised to apply in good time before travelling, according to

While it could take longer than three weeks, if the passport office needs more information, customers will be notified within these three weeks.


Travellers can apply online or by post to renew their passport – it can take up to three weeks to arrive 

There are two ways to apply for an urgent passport. The first is the ‘one-day Premium’ service, in which customers will be asked to book an appointment at their nearest passport office, apply and pay online. They will get their new passport at their appointment.

The second is the one-week’ fast track’ service, customers can book an appointment at their nearest passport office, apply and pay online, and a new passport is delivered to their home within the subsequent seven days, excluding bank holidays. You must act quickly, however, as passport office appointment slots – each lasting around 10 minutes – are snapped up quickly.

The one-day premium service will set you back £193.50 for an adult passport, while the one-week fast track service costs £155 for an adult passport.

If you need a passport to travel urgently for healthcare or because a loved one is seriously ill or has died, it’s recommended that you call the ‘Passport Adviceline’ instead.


In April last year, holidaymakers were warned to look out for fraudsters exploiting passport delays caused by industrial action by UK Passport Office workers by offering bogus ‘fast-track’ services.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) warned that scammers were using increasingly sophisticated and convincing methods to trick travellers into paying for non-existent services.

The CTSI said it had seen a number of texts and emails offering speedy passport renewals, warning that victims could lose personal data to fraudsters as well as money.

CTSI chief executive John Herriman said: ‘As always, scammers are quick to leap on any opportunity to take advantage of uncertainty and upheaval. The exploitation of delays brought about by Passport Office strikes is just the latest example of scammers preying on people’s vulnerability.’

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