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How do I know if my passport is valid?

Brexit has caused a lot of confusion for holiday makers – especially in relation to their passports!

Travellers have arrived at airports thinking their passports are still valid for travel, only to find out last minute that this isn’t the case.

  • Blue passport

    45.7 million

    UK residents have a UK passport

  • Purple passport

    5.9 million

    UK residents have a non-UK passport

  • Red passport

    3.9 million

    UK residents have an EU passport

* according to 2021 Census Data

Brexit has had a huge impact on the travel industry, resulting in many outcomes such as passport rule changes. Many travellers have been left confused as to whether they need a new passport or if their current one is still fine to use.

One of the main rules to keep in mind now is that the length of time required to be left on your passport will depend on the country you are planning to visit. As this is Brexit, it is mainly European countries that will be affected by the new travel rules.

Passports must now also be stamped at border control upon entry and exit of the European Union and UK citizen can no longer use the EU passport queue.

Passport expiry date Brexit

The new rule causing the most confusion is to do with the expiry date of a passport. Previously, any passports that had been issued before 1st October 2018 had allowed you to roll over months from a previous passport.

For example, if you had 5 months left on your passport when you renewed it, you could travel for an additional 5 months on the new one. The maximum amount that was allowed to be carried over was 9 months.

These additional months are no longer valid, meaning passports are now only valid for exactly 10 years from the date of issue. To travel your passport now needs:

  • To have been issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country you are travelling to
  • Be valid for at least 3 months from the day you will be leaving the country (excluding any months previously carried over)

There could also be other restrictions/requirements depending on the country, so it is best to double check your destination’s travel rules before setting off on your trip.

Below we have listed all of the European countries the new travel rules apply to. This should make it easier for you to know if your holiday destination has been affected – and if you may need to arrange a passport renewal before travel.

Czech RepublicDenmarkEstonia
San MarinoSlovakia & SloveniaSpain
SwedenSwitzerlandVatican City

Below we have highlighted a few of the internet’s most asked passport questions in the post-Brexit UK. Hopefully these can clarify anything that may be confusing you at the moment in relation to your passport.

Can I still use my red passport after Brexit?

YES – For the time being an older style red passport is still valid for UK travellers to use. Just be sure to double check whether it is still valid due to all of the rule changes, especially if it is nearing its expiration date.

Passports are now only valid for exactly 10 years, with none of the additional month’s that may have rolled over from a previous passport renewal allowed as there was previously. If you still have a few years left on your passport, you should have nothing to worry about. You will just need to renew to the newer style passport when your current one reaches its expiry date.

Will my EU passport still be valid after Brexit?

YES – The British EU passport will still be valid provided it is in date, with plenty of time before its expiry date. The EU passport refers to the red old-style passport with the phrase ‘European Union’ in gold lettering on the front.

When the UK joined the EU, it allowed for free movement across the countries in the agreement. This meant that anyone with an EU passport (including the UK passports) was able to move and live in another EU country.

EU citizenship for British citizens and the right to free movement ended when the transition period for Brexit expired on 31st December 2020. This has changed things for UK residents living or wanting to live abroad.

If a UK national had been living in an EU country before 1st January 2021, they will still have certain rights to stay in that country protected by the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement (WA). This does not however allow them rights in any other EU country.

If someone wishes to move to an EU country after Brexit, it will be more difficult and the rules will vary depending on the individual countries’ immigration laws, visas and restrictions.

Passport requirements for Spain after Brexit

We all know UK holiday makers love Spain. It is a reasonable flight time from the UK and, depending on the exact destination, usually a cheap and sunny summer holiday.

Spain is in fact the most common holiday destination in the EU with over a 5th (22%) of all visits abroad from the UK in 2021 travelling to Spain as their go to holiday destination.*

This means a lot of UK residents may be curious as to how their Spanish holiday is affected by the new passport rules. The passport requirements for Spain are:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months from the day you will be leaving the country (excluding any months previously carried over)
  • Your passport must have been issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country you are travelling to

What happens if I lose my passport on holiday?

Losing your passport on holiday is understandably a nightmare for anyone who may find themselves in that situation. With a lost or stolen passport and return flights looming, you may be concerned as to how you are getting home.

The best protection in a situation such as this is to have a travel insurance plan in place before you leave home in the first place. Most policies will cover a loss of passport as standard, meaning if you have to pay out for a new one to return home you can claim the cost of this back later.

If you are unsure on the best travel insurance to suit your travel needs, speak to one of our EXPERT advisers today for HELPFUL and FRIENDLY advice or GET A FREE QUOTE ONLINE.

Travel insurance with medical conditions

As the UK’s #1 pre-existing medical conditions insurance experts, we know cover isn’t always easy to get. We can help you find the travel cover you need even with medical conditions such as:











*according to gov.uk


Below we have linked some useful resources for further information on the topics covered in this page:

UK Parliament – After Brexit: Visiting, working and living in the EU

Gov.uk – Apply online for a UK passport

Gov.uk – Passports

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