- Passport validity rules will become tighter if there is a No Deal split from the EU
- Passports will have to have at least six months validity left for travel to Europe
- Normally takes up to three weeks for renewal and Brexit now just 22 days away
British passport holders have until the end of the week to make sure that they will not be left stranded in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
Passport rules will become tighter for travel to most European countries if the UK splits from Brussels without an agreement on October 31.
Passport renewal normally takes up to three weeks which means people are running out of time to check their identity documents will meet stricter validity rules which could come into force after Halloween.
If a passport does not meet the new rules then the holder will likely have to apply for a new one, potentially by close of play Friday, so they will still be able to travel to the continent in the immediate aftermath of a disorderly divorce.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced last month that the government was sending out one million text messages to remind people to check their passports.
There are two main rules which passports will have to comply with in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
Firstly, every passport will have to have at least six months of validity left before the stated expiry date in order for people to be allowed to travel.
The second rule applies to people who renewed their old passport before it expired and they were given ‘extra months’ of validity as a result.
In that scenario, any ‘extra months’ on a passport over 10 years old will likely not be allowed to count towards the six months needed under the first rule.
UK passengers wishing to travel to many European countries after a No Deal Brexit will have to meet new rules to avoid being stranded
UK passport holders who want to travel to Europe after a No Deal Brexit will have to make sure their identity document has at least six months validity left
The new rules will apply to travel to and from most countries in Europe including: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Effectively a No Deal Brexit would result in UK travellers having to play by the same rules as visitors from non-EU countries.
However, the new rules do not apply to people who are travelling from the UK to Ireland.
Boris Johnson has promised to deliver Brexit on October 31 ‘do or die’ and with or without a deal.
The Prime Minister’s preference remains for the UK to split from the EU with an agreement.
But the chances of a No Deal Brexit have increased in recent days after Brussels said the PM’s plans to break the deadlock could not provide the basis for an accord.
The two sides are trying to keep talks going but the hopes of a deal being done are receding.
MPs have passed an anti-No Deal law which would force the PM to ask the EU for a Brexit delay if no agreement is in place by October 19.
Mr Johnson has signalled that he will comply with that legislation but Downing Street has also said it will make clear to the EU that the government does not want an extension.
That means that as things stand nobody knows for certain what will happen on October 31.
The Home Office text messages were sent out to people who provided a mobile number when they applied for a passport or applied for an existing passport to be renewed.
However, not everyone provides a mobile number when submitting their application so ministers had urged all passport holders to check their documents even if they did not receive the message.
Even if people apply by the end of this week for a passport to be renewed there is no guarantee that it will be ready before October 31.
Passport renewal normally takes up to three weeks but it can take much longer than that depending on the circumstances and levels of demand.