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Post Office misleading travellers on passport information

Post Office misleading travellers on passport information

The Post Office is providing misleading information on its website about passport validity to Europe.

The organisation claims: “You need to have at least six months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe.”

No such rule has ever existed, though after Brexit the Foreign Office made a similar claim. The FCDO has since corrected its error and aligned with the rules as set out by the European Commission.

The assertion appears on the Post Office website on a page headed “Rules for travelling with a soon-to-be expired passport”.

Further down the page, prospective travellers are told: “For most European countries, HM Passport Office recommend that on the day you travel you have at least three months left on your passport.”

This claim risks causing yet more confusion because it does not specify if the “day of travel” is your departure date or your return date (it’s the latter).

A British passport must pass two tests to be valid in the European Union (excluding Ireland) and wider Schengen Area (including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland):

  • It must have an issue date that is less than 10 years ago on the day of entry
  • Its expiry date must be at least three months away on your intended day of return

The Independent has repeatedly asked the Post Office to correct its information. Holidaymakers could inadvertently add to the pressure on HM Passport Office by renewing their documents unnecessarily early.

The Post Office has a “Check & Send” service for passports, which it promotes by saying: “If you need to renew your passport and have more than four weeks before you travel, pick up an application form from your local Post Office or use our online Passport Check & Send process.”

Since April 2021, HM Passport Office has been advising people to allow up to 10 weeks for a new travel document.


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