Essential new passport rules for Brits travelling to Greece, Spain, and France this summer

Penny Priestly and her husband Dug
-Credit: (Image: Penny Priestly)


As summer is rapidly approaching, it's crucial for Brits to familiarise themselves with the new passport regulations before jetting off on their holidays.

Greece, Spain, and France are among the favourite destinations for Brits during the summer season. It might seem as simple as showing up at the airport with your boarding pass and passport, but since the UK's departure from the European Union (EU), it's worth reviewing the specific rules of your destination country before you reach the airport.

Several travellers have been caught out by these new regulations, resulting in cancelled holidays. This includes Penny Priestly and her husband Dug, who were unable to fly to Benidorm for a ten-day holiday despite possessing valid passports, reports the Mirror.

Understanding travel rules and restrictions is key to ensuring a smooth start to your holiday. However, with so many sources available, finding the most current and accurate travel advice, rules, and restrictions can be a confusing and frustrating task.

The Gov.uk website provides country-specific advice and information - here are the current passport requirements for Greece, Spain, and France, according to their site:

Greece

If you're planning a trip to an EU country (excluding Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, it's essential to adhere to the Schengen area passport requirements.

For those travelling to Greece, your passport must meet the following criteria:

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’ labelled on your passport)

  • Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’ labelled on your passport)

It's crucial to ensure your passport meets these requirements before setting off. If your passport was issued prior to 1 October 2018, additional months may have been added to its expiry date.

If in doubt, it's advisable to contact the Greek embassy to confirm whether your passport is valid for travel. Remember to renew your passport if necessary.

Spain

Spain also adheres to the Schengen area rules. Therefore, your passport must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive – if you renewed your passport before 1 October 2018, it may have a date of issue that is more than 10 years ago

  • Have an ‘expiry date’ at least three months after the day you plan to leave the Schengen area

If you've booked your trip through a travel provider, they should be able to confirm whether your passport and other travel documents are valid. It's important to note that entry will be denied if you attempt to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen, or if you don't have a valid travel document.

France

France also complies with the Schengen area passport requirements. Your passport must meet the following criteria:

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’ labelled on your passport)

  • Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’ labelled on your passport)

If you discover that your passport needs renewing, bear in mind that new fees were introduced in April 2024. The current passport renewal fees are as follows:

  • A standard online application made from within the UK costs £88.50 for adults and £57.50 for children

  • A standard postal application costs £100.00 for adults and £69.00 for children

  • A standard online application when applying from overseas costs £101.00 for adults and £65.50 for children

  • A standard paper application when applying from overseas costs £112.50 for adults and £77.00 for children

Keep in mind that it can take up to three weeks to get a new passport issued, and during peak times like the school summer holidays, it could take even longer. If you're ever unsure about the restrictions of the country you're visiting, whether it's related to passports or not, it's always a good idea to contact the country's embassy - they'll be able to provide you with the most current information you need for a hassle-free journey to your destination.