Simon Calder says NHS certificate issues are ‘so sad’
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Under new Brexit rules, every UK tourist’s passport must have been issued within the last ten years to enter the EU. Many people have been hit by the new rule as they were unaware it existed.
Even people with 12 months left on their passport could be blocked from travelling if it was issued more than 10 years ago.
Due to the number of Covid restrictions and other travel rules in the last 18 months, it is thought many people have missed the Brexit legislation.
Travel expert Simon Calder told BBC Radio 4: “It all goes back to Brexit. If you remember before that when we were in the European Union all the way up to the transition period, it was really straightforward.
“If you had a British passport, you could go to the EU and stay in any of those countries up to and including the passport date.
“But now, your passport has to meet two conditions which the European Union has long had in place for third countries, which is what we are now.”
Until September 2018, people were given credit for unspent time when they renewed their passports.
This was typically up to 10 years and nine months under the previous rules.
Simon added: “So you could have a passport issued in 2011 that may not expire until 2022, but then the rule kicked in and for the EU any non-members passports are deemed to have expired after 10 years.”
Families with October half-term holidays booked are being urged to check their passports before heading to the airport.
Simon said: “Many of us didn’t even notice in January because international travel was banned, but once trips were allowed again, many people have checked the expiry date and not the issue date.”
ABTA, The Travel Association advises that the passport office is currently taking up to 10 weeks to process applications.
Anyone with an EU holiday booked who needs to renew their passport under the new rules is advised to apply for a new document right away.
British travellers can also check their passport on the Government’s passport checker if they are unsure.
In another post-Brexit rule, UK tourists visiting the EU can only stay for 90 out of every 180 days.
The rule applies within the Schengen Zone which includes most EU countries and permits travel between the nations.
Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Ireland and Romania are in the EU but not within the Schengen Zone.
Travel Covid restrictions are due to be relaxed on October 4, when double vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before arrival in the UK.
The amber and green travel lists have also been merged making the rules simpler to follow.
Later on in October, day two PCR tests will be scrapped in favour of lateral flow tests although the exact date has not been confirmed.
Wales recently announced it would follow the rest of the union in scrapping pre-departure tests but is likely to keep PCR tests in place.
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