Don’t let an out-of-date passport ruin your travel plans

Last year, hundreds of holidaymakers were turned away at airports, ferry terminals and international train stations with out-of-date passports. Take these simple steps to check your passport is in date.

How to check your passport is in date

The colour of your passport provides a simple clue as to whether it is due for renewal.  Red passports were issued pre-Brexit – since 2020, they have been blue.

And adult passport usually lasts 10 years, but a child’s passport is only valid for five years. 

Checking your passport expiry date is easy to do.

The issue date and the expiration date are listed on the same page as your passport photo and name.

When you have checked your passport is in date, visit the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office website to check the foreign travel advice for your destination of choice. Just select the country you’re planning to visit. Under the ‘entry requirements’ section, it will tell you exactly how long you must have left on your passport to travel there.

How many months do you need on your existing passport to travel?

There’s currently a ten-week wait for passports. And no sign of the waiting time reducing. Last year, thousands of holiday hopefuls could not travel, and it looks like we can expect the same in 2023.

If your passport is past its expiry date, you obviously can’t travel on it.

Most countries, including Australia and the United States, expect British passports to be valid for your whole stay.

However, other countries, like like South Africa and New Zealand, will expect a bit more.  

In Europe (although not in Ireland) and Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or Vatican City, the Schengen area rules mean passports must be: 

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue)
  • Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

If you plan to visit Spain and intend to leave on 1 August 2023, your passport must be valid until at least 1 November 2023. 

Other countries beyond Europe such as China, Egypt, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey, will expect six months left on your passport (likely from the day you arrive) – with India travel requiring at least 180 days of validity.

It’s always important to check the FCDO’s travel advice for your desired destination before booking.


Published on 29/04/23

Bookmark this page