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Four key things to check on your UK passport before travelling

After the lifting of travel restrictions that have been in place over the last two years, summer holidays have got the go ahead for 2022 and thousands of Brits will be catching flights this summer.

The Home Office has already warned that passport renewals could be delayed due to the backlog caused by the pandemic and it has since urged UK passport holders to check their documents ahead of the time they are due to travel.

Currently, delays mean that getting the new documents could take up to 10 weeks, reported The Mirror. For some, it has taken 13.

READ MORE: Manchester Airport contrast as Bank Holiday delays for some but not all

Although you should check weather or not your passport is within its expiration date, there are other things to check before you travel including your issue date which could make your passport invalid for travel.

To prevent yourself being turned away once you get to the airport, the below information on the four major things to check before going on holiday is worth checking.

The expiry date

Checking whether or not your passport is actually in date is a good place to start. The Home Office has estimated that over five million people delayed their passport renewals during the pandemic.

In order for your passport to be valid you need to check its within its expiry date. If it isn’t, it’ll need to be renewed. It’s also worth noting that the expiry date needs to be valid after you’ve travelled too.

The majority of countries require your passport to be valid for at least three months ahead of your departure date. This includes Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Cyprus and Greece.

If you need to check the exact requirements for your destination, the Foreign Office’s travel advice for a destination is available to check here: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The date of issue

A significant amount of EU countries in the Schengen Area ask that your passport is no more than 10 years old from its point of issue. If you take into account that your passport also needs to be valid at least three to six months after travelling – both sets of criteria must be met to visit a country.

For those heading to Portugal, they require your passport to be valid three months after travel, so your passport will need to have been issued nine years and nine months before your travel date.

The best place to check exact requirements for your destination is on gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. If you’re unsure, ask your airline or tour operator.

Check your passport for damage

A damaged passport could prevent you from getting away. Significant damage to the document could be deemed invalid by border control, so assure it is in good condition and kept in a safe place. If it is damaged, you need to apply for a new one.

A damaged passport is identified if your personal details are unreadable, if there are any pages which are ripped or missing, or if the pages have been damaged by water. Any unexpected markings or writings could also mean your passport isn’t deemed suitable.

For further information on renewing a damaged passport, click here: gov.uk/renew-adult-passport/replace.

Use the Foreign Office advice checklist

The Foreign Office has shared a pre-travel checklist to use as guidance before going on holiday.

As part of its advice it suggests:

  • “Take a photo or photocopy of the information page of your passport (the page with your photo, personal details and passport number) and store it securely, so you can access it if your valuables/phone are lost or stolen.”
  • “Sign your passport on the page opposite your information page. An unsigned passport is not valid.”
  • “Fill in your emergency contact details in the back of your passport.”

You can find out more on gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-checklist.