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Travellers sent texts warning them to check if they need to renew their passports for Brexit

Travellers sent texts warning them to check if they need to renew their passports for Brexit

The Home Office is sending texts to around one million travellers warning them they may need to renew their passports if they want to travel to more than 20 European countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

New passport validity rules will apply for travel to most European countries in the event of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal, meaning you will need to have at least six months left on your passport (see below for the full rules).

The Home Office says the texts will be targeted at those whose passports may not be valid after a no-deal Brexit, but they'll only be sent to people who provided their mobile number when they applied for their current passport. So even if you don't get a text, it's still worth checking if yours will be valid with the Government's online tool.

The first texts have already been sent, and the rest will be sent in clusters over the next few days.

The UK is officially set to exit the EU on Thursday 31 October, but with huge uncertainty, much is up in the air. If you don't have long left on your passport – so in the event of a no-deal Brexit, you'd need to renew suddenly – it's probably worth sorting it now. This is because all you lose by renewing early is a few months off the end of your current 10-year passport.

See our 25 Brexit need-to-knows for info on house prices, visas, flights, consumer rights & more.

Who will need to renew their passport earlier?

At the moment, you can travel to EU countries on your passport right up to the point it expires.

  • If we leave the European Union with a deal, current arrangements will continue at least until the end of a transition period – likely the end of 2020. In other words, until then, as long as your passport's valid, you'll be able to travel to EU countries.

  • If we leave with no deal and you've got less than six months left on your passport on the day you travel, you will not be able to travel to: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. For more info, see Gov.uk.

    If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the six months needed.

It's also worth noting that to prepare for Brexit, the Passport Office introduced some under-the-radar changes in September 2018 – first revealed by MoneySavingExpert.com – which mean that travellers who renew their passports now get up to nine months' less validity. See full info in our Passport applicants given shorter renewals MSE News story.