Department to inform citizens that they may need to renew their passports earlier than expected
The Home Office is to text one million passport-holders to warn them that a no-deal Brexit could disrupt their travel plans if they fail to renew their passport.
The department said that, in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, “new passport validity rules will apply for travel to most European countries”.
There are two rule changes of which citizens should be aware, according to the Home Office.
The first of these is that, from 31 October, any UK passport holders travelling to other parts of Europe will need more than six months left on their passport.
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Moreover, if the passport in question was renewed early and, consequently, was issued for longer than the standard 10-year term, this extra time may not count towards the six months.
The new validity rules for UK passport-holders will apply for trips to all other countries in the European Economic Area – with the exception of Ireland – as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Switzerland.
The planned deadline for leaving the EU of 31 October is just over six weeks away. Given that “it will normally take up to three weeks to renew a passport… [and] may take longer if more information is needed”, the government is advising those with imminent European travel plans to check whether they need to take action as a matter of urgency.
“The texts will be sent to those who provided their mobile number when they applied for their current passport,” the Home Office said. “Not everyone provides a mobile number, and contact details may have changed, so even those who do not receive a message should check their passport.”
The department added: “Other advice to people travelling to Europe after Brexit includes getting travel insurance so they are covered for healthcare, making sure they have the right driving documents and getting a health certificate for their pet.”
The text-message spree forms part of the government’s £100m ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ comms campaign, which includes a dedicated website and online questionnaire.