Consider renewing your passport now

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

On Monday, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the British Government started sending out e-mails concerning travelling to EU countries after the end of 2020.

UK passport
Check you have at least six months validity as of January 1st 2021. If not it renew now.

Why now when there is still over three months before the split occurs?

There is one simple answer and that concerns passports. After December 31st, if you don’t have at least six months validity left on your passport, travel could be a problem.

For all those people who have less than six months validity as at January 1st, the advice is to renew you passport now. Not next week or next month because you may be denied entry at your destination. Your existing passport should not have an expiry date earlier than July 2020 for you to be safe in your travel plans. Of you have a date earlier than July 2020, you should reapply now.

Why apply so early?

Here the issue is coronavirus. Civil servants working for the passport office have been affected like everyone else. They have stayed at home so that on return to work they have a backlog of passport applications and renewals to work through. No-one knows how long it will take to clear the backlog so getting your renewal or re-application in now should mean that your new passport will be ready for the new year.

In any case there is likely to be an increase in the number of passport applications solely because some people will want the new blue version. Some countries may also want to see a passport where previously a driver’s licence with picture was sufficient.

It will take longer to process new passports which is why the FCDO is sending out these notifications now.

It is also reminding us that we might – we don’t know yet – require an international driving permit to drive in some countries whereas up to now we have been able to drive on British licences. And if you were to take your own vehicle, you might also need a ‘green card’ or valid proof of insurance (make sure your insurance covers you for travel in Europe after January 2021) and a GB sticker.

By my count, there are just seventeen weeks left until the end of the year. Remove a couple for the Christmas/New Year shutdown and time is getting short if you need to renew passport for travelling in January 2021.

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