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Why a no-deal Brexit means some holidaymakers should renew their passport today

3.5 million passports need early renewal for travel to Europe after 30 March

New rules as a result of a no-deal Brexit mean some UK passport holders will need to renew their passport today, if they want to travel on 30 March  

As we reported in January, some passports with as much as 15 months of validity remaining won’t be accepted for travel to Schengen Area countries, such as Spain and Italy, if the UK exits the EU without a deal. The UK government has confirmed this could affect as many as 3.5 million passport holders, of which 1.5 million are expected to travel this spring or summer.

If you’re affected, today is the last day you can renew your passport using standard application procedures to get it in time for 30 March. HM Passport office currently advises applicants that passport renewals take three weeks. Although it also warns that an application may take longer ‘if more information is needed or your application hasn’t been filled out correctly’.

Apply for your passport now

If the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal, UK travellers will have to follow existing rules for visitors from non-EU countries travelling to Schengen Area countries – 26 European countries that have officially abolished passport control at their mutual borders.

The rules require that passports must have been issued within the past 10 years and have at least six-months validity remaining on their passport on the day of travel.

You can check if you need to renew your passport now by using the government’s new online Passport Checker.

While it should take three weeks for your renewed or replaced passport to arrive, the closer we get to a no-deal Brexit on 29 March, the busier the Passport Office is likelier to get as more holidaymakers realise they need to renew.

How to get your passport in time

If you’ve left it too late to get your passport in time for 30 March and are planning to travel abroad, you do have some options.

Unless it’s your first adult passport you can apply via the paper or online premium service. Both cost £177. The online service is slightly quicker but you’ll need a digital photo of yourself. You must book an appointment at least two days from application, where you’ll receive your new passport.

The slightly cheaper option is the one-week fast-track service which costs £142 for adults and £122 for children. See how to apply for an Urgent Passport.

Leaving the EU

Which? cuts through the noise to find the facts. Our practical and impartial consumer advice, rigorously researched and regularly delivered by email, can help you prepare for when the UK leaves the EU. Sign up for email updates.

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