Are burgundy British passports still valid for travel to Europe?

Jan 16, 2021

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Now that the U.K. has officially left the European Union, we have extra considerations to make when planning travel between the U.K. and our favourite European destinations. This includes all EU countries (except Ireland) as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Among changes to our healthcare, ability to drive and even accessing our phone network while abroad, Brexit also brings with it new restrictions on our passports.

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(Photo by Peter Cade/Getty Images)

Can I still travel to Europe on my burgundy British passport?

In short, yes — the burgundy-coloured British passports that we’re familiar with are still valid for travel, providing that:

  • It still has at least six months of validity from the date of entry into the country; and
  • It is less than 10 years old (even if it is valid for six months or more).

This new requirement is in line with several other popular destinations for Brits outside of Europe like Israel, South Africa and Thailand.

There are no restrictions in place for the Republic of Ireland. “Passport-free access is assured throughout the Common Travel Area comprising of U.K., Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man,” according to the government website.

How do I get a new passport?

If your passport fails to meet the above criteria, you must apply for a new one before travelling. Under normal circumstances, it can take up to three weeks for a passport to be processed online. You can also fill out paper forms, which can be obtained from your local Post Office. However, due to COVID-19, paper applications are taking longer to process than online applications.

Passports for adults range from £75.50 when applying online for a standard 34-page passport to £95 when applying using a paper form for a 50-page frequent traveller passport.

When your shiny new passport arrives, it will be in the original blue colour that was used on the first-ever British passports issued in 1921.

(Photo by Thomas Janisch/Getty Images)

Do I need a visa to enter Europe?

Under the new rules, British nationals will be able to visit Europe visa-free but only for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. This means that extended trips around Europe and the right to live and work in EU nations is no longer possible.

Additionally, there will soon be the introduction of “Eurovisas” (formally called the ETIAS scheme) in 2022. Those wishing to travel to destinations in the EU zone will need to apply for one in advance, and the application is believed to be very thorough. There will also be a fee of around 7 euros (£6.20).

More details of the Eurovisas are likely to emerge in the coming months.

Featured photo by Belterz/Getty

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