Expats expect passport problems post-Brexit transition period

Published:  18 Feb at 6 PM
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One frequently asked question about Brexit changes involves expats’ British burgundy passports.

Although the final consequences of Britain’s exit from the EU won’t be clear in the immediate future, one issue comes up frequently on social media – that of UK expats’ burgundy passports. Whilst blue, it seems, is to be the new burgundy, will the passport itself suddenly become unacceptable, especially as it costs British expats living overseas so much to renew the essential document. For now, it seems expats and frequent travellers will be able to use the burgundy passport until it expires but, for those travelling after the end of this year, at least six months must be left before expiry.

For those who’ve renewed their current passports prior to expiry, the extra months added to the expiry date over a period of ten years may not be counted as part of the required six months. British expats returning to the UK must also make sure the document has at least six months’ validity in order to ensure being able to re-enter their country of residence. Even with the above taken care of, expats and travellers are being warned there’s a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the travel situation after the end of December for both UK expats in the EU and their counterparts living and working in Britain.

Problems may well be caused by some UK passports which state an expiry date of over ten years from the start date. This anomaly has been common practice with, for example, a passport issued on June 30 2011 stating its expiry as of 30th March 2022, but EU laws state maximum validity as an exact 10 years. Therefore, that passport would expire on 30th June 2021 and not have the required six months’ validity. Its owner would need to renew it some 15 months prior to its actual expiry date in order not to be refused permission to fly!
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