© Crown copyright 2018
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/travelling-to-the-eu-with-a-uk-passport-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/travelling-to-the-eu-with-a-uk-passport-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
Delivering the deal negotiated with the EU remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed.
However, the government must prepare for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario. For 2 years, the government has been implementing a significant programme of work to ensure that the UK is prepared to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.
It has always been the case that as we get nearer to that date, preparations for a no deal scenario would have to be accelerated. We must ensure plans are in place should they need to be relied upon.
In the summer, the government published a series of 106 technical notices setting out information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a no deal scenario so they can make informed plans and preparations.
This technical notice offers guidance for continued planning in the event of no deal.
Also included is an overarching framing notice explaining the government’s approach to preparing the UK for this outcome in order to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth and orderly exit.
We are working with the devolved administrations on technical notices and we will continue to do so as plans develop.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British passport holders will be considered third country nationals by countries within the Schengen area after 29 March 2019.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, new rules will apply. You should check your passport meets these rules and renew it if necessary.
The following countries are within the Schengen area: 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 countries that are in the EU but not in the Schengen area, you’ll need to check the entry requirements for the country you’re travelling to before you travel. These countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. Travel to Ireland is subject to separate Common Travel Area arrangements which will remain the same after the UK leaves the EU.
Before 29 March 2019
Most EU countries (though not the UK) are members of the Schengen Agreement. This agreement removes passport checks and border controls at the borders between Schengen area. People can travel around the area as if it is one country.
If you’re a British citizen, as an EU national, you’re currently able to enter the Schengen area if you have a valid passport. There’s no requirement for British passports to have a minimum or maximum validity period remaining when you enter or leave the Schengen area.
After 29 March 2019
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British passport holders, including passports issued by the Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar, you’ll be considered a third country national under the Schengen Border Code. This means you’ll need to comply with different rules to enter and travel around the Schengen area. Third-country nationals are citizens of countries which do not belong to the EU or the European Economic Area, such as Australia, Canada and the USA
According to the Schengen Border Code, third country passports must:
- have been issued within the last 10 years on the date of arrival in a Schengen country, and
- have at least 3 months’ validity remaining on the date of intended departure from the last country visited in the Schengen area. Because third country nationals can remain in the Schengen area for 90 days (approximately 3 months), the actual check carried out could be that the passport has at least 6 months validity remaining on the date of arrival.
If you plan to travel to the Schengen area after 29 March 2019, we suggest that you check the issue date and make sure your passport is no older than 9 years and 6 months on the day of travel. For example, if you’re planning to travel to the Schengen area on 30 March 2019, your passport should have an issue date on or after 1 October 2009. This is to avoid any possibility of your adult British passport not complying with the Schengen Border Code.
If your passport does not meet the criteria for third country nationals, you may be denied entry to any of the Schengen area countries, and you should renew your passport before you travel.
If you’re planning travel after 29 March 2019 and your passport will not meet these validity rules, we recommend you consider renewing your passport soon to avoid any delay.
If you are a parent or guardian
For 5-year child passports issued to under-16s, check the expiry date and make sure there will be at least 6 months validity remaining on the date of travel. For example, a child planning to travel to the Schengen area on 30 March 2019 should have a passport with an expiry date on or after 1 October 2019.
If a child’s passport does not meet the criteria for third country nationals, they may be denied entry to any of the Schengen area countries and you should renew their passport before travel.
The easiest way to renew a child’s passport is online, or you can find out about other ways of applying to renew a child’s passport.
Travelling to countries which are in the EU but not in the Schengen area
For countries that are in the EU but not in the Schengen area, you’ll need to check the entry requirements for the country you’re travelling to before you travel.
Travel to Ireland after EU exit
Travel to Ireland is subject to separate Common Travel Area arrangements which will remain the same after the UK leaves the EU.
Passports with validity over 10 years (5 years for children)
Since 2001, some adult British passports were issued with a validity longer than 10 years. If you renewed your passport before it expired, you were allowed to have the time left on your old passport added to your new passport. The maximum validity period possible was 10 years and 9 months. This means you can’t use the expiry date to check if your adult passport will be valid under the new rules.
Since the beginning of September 2018, extra validity was no longer added to passports. The maximum validity for an adult UK passport is now 10 years, and 5 years for a child passport. We have made this change to follow recommendations set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and to provide clarity about passport validity in the future.
Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar passports
These new rules will also apply to you if your British passport is a Crown Dependency or Gibraltar issued passport and you’re going to travel to a country in the Schengen Area from 30 March 2019. If your passport does not meet these criteria, you may be denied entry to Schengen area countries and you should renew your passport before you travel.
You can apply for a new passport at your respective Crown Dependencies or Gibraltar passport offices:
British passports issued after 29 March 2019
The design of the British passport will change after Britain leaves the EU. This will happen in two stages.
Passports printed between 30 March 2019 up until the introduction of the new passport design will be burgundy but will not include the words ‘European Union’ on the front cover. This includes passports issued by the Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar.
Blue passports will start being issued from late 2019.
If you renew your passport between late 2019 and early 2020, you’ll be automatically issued with either a blue or burgundy British passport.
This notice is meant for guidance only. You should consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.
It is part of the government’s ongoing programme of planning for all possible outcomes. We expect to negotiate a successful deal with the EU.
The UK government is clear that in this scenario we must respect our unique relationship with Ireland, with whom we share a land border and who are co-signatories of the Belfast Agreement. The UK government has consistently placed upholding the Agreement and its successors at the heart of our approach. It enshrines the consent principle on which Northern Ireland’s constitutional status rests. We recognise the basis it has provided for the deep economic and social cooperation on the island of Ireland. This includes North-South cooperation between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which we’re committed to protecting in line with the letter and spirit of Strand two of the Agreement.
The Irish government have indicated they would need to discuss arrangements in the event of no deal with the European Commission and EU Member States. The UK would stand ready in this scenario to engage constructively to meet our commitments and act in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland, recognising the very significant challenges that the lack of a UK-EU legal agreement would pose in this unique and highly sensitive context.
It remains, though, the responsibility of the UK government, as the sovereign government in Northern Ireland, to continue preparations for the full range of potential outcomes, including no deal. As we do, and as decisions are made, we’ll take full account of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.
Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area and participate in other EU arrangements. As such, in many areas, these countries adopt EU rules. Where this is the case, these technical notices may also apply to them, and EEA businesses and citizens should consider whether they need to take any steps to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario.