Which language will you choose?

By | Category: Travel news

As April 12th looms without a definite decision on whether there will be a hard Brexit or an extension, EU countries are considering their next move.

New and old passports

It has already been announced that we won’t need visas this year to cross to the continent but we may need to prove our nationality. The obvious answer is to use a passport but herein lies the problem.

After April 12th or May 22nd or whatever the chosen date will be, English will cease to be one of the languages of the EU. After we actually leave, all documents to be presented at EU borders must be in one of the official languages of the EU.

But surely, you might say, English is the national language of Ireland and therefore must be an EU language? Under the Irish constitution, Irish is the first language and it has been recognised as an official EU language since 2007. Consequently, English is only the second choice. That is why all travel documents will have to be in a language that is listed in the EU. Regulation 1 of 1958, snappily known as OJ 17, 6.10.1958, on page 385.

You can choose which language in which to have your new British passport other than English so if you have a flat in Spain you might opt for Spanish. If you holiday in Greece, Greek might be your choice.

If you have no plans to visit the EU then you can just request one in English but remember a passport lasts for ten years. At some stage in the future you might want to visit one of our neighbours in which case pick a language – any EU language – and go for that.

There are still 23 from which to choose but I think I would be tempted to opt for Irish or Maltese just to see their faces of the border staff whilst they check to see if such a language is permissible!.

What is yet to be established is what will happen if you don’t have a passport in English and another language. Will be stopped as you enter and put on the next flight or ferry back? Will there be a period of grace?

The important thing is that once the final date is decided, you apply for your new passport and on the application form, state in which of the twenty-one languages of the EU you wish to have alongside English.

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