Understanding Passport Validity Rules for Britons After Brexit

After Brexit, Britain is no longer a part of the EU, and therefore the rules surrounding passport validity for entering and leaving the EU, and Spain, have changed. This is one of a huge number of rules that will be different for Britons, and may make your visits to Spain very different.

If you are visiting Spain for a holiday, or to spend time in your holiday home whilst not living in the country permanently, these rules will be different from if you have been awarded Spanish residency.

Here’s everything you need to know about passport validity rules, so that you don’t get a nasty surprise at border control!

If You’re Visiting Spain

If you’re visiting Spain and wish to take advantage of visa-free entry to the country (which allows you to spend up to 90 days out of every 180 day period in the Schengen area without needing a visa or permit) then you will need to have a minimum of 6 months validity left on your passport on the day that you travel (ie the day that you arrive in Spain). Before the UK left the EU, you could travel using your passport right up until the day it expired.

As you can spend a maximum of three months in Spain in any one period of time, this would mean that you would have at least three months validity left on your passport on the day that you leave the country.

To further complicate things, EU rules stipulate that your passport has to be less than 10 years old on the day after you leave the country. This means that the validity date on your passport might not be the date you use to calculate if it is actually valid, because any additional months that the passport office would add to your passport if you renewed it early would not be calculated for these purposes.

Both of these rules apply if you are visiting Spain, and the same rules will apply when you’re travelling to the EU and other Schengen countries, with the exception of Ireland, where these rules do not apply.

If You Are a Spanish Resident

If you are a British citizen, and British passport holder, who has residency to live in Spain then the good news is that these new rules regarding passport validity don’t apply to you. You don’t have to have extra months on your passport when either leaving or arriving in Spain and, as you could before, can continue to use your passport right up until the day it expires.

You can check the validity of your passport, and when you can use it, using this handy tool on the British government website. If you’re living in Spain, it is also possible to renew your British passport whilst your in the country without returning to the UK.

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