A woman was reportedly barred from boarding her flight to Ibiza because her passport was issued nearly ten years ago - despite it being in date until 2023.
Caroline Smith was caught up by post-Brexit rules which has been interpreted by some airlines to mean visitors’ passports to the EU need to have been issued within the last nine years and nine months.
The 40-year-old told the Daily Mail she had booked the Ryanair flight from Stansted Airport to celebrate her ten-year anniversary with her husband Dan on April 28, only to be told she could not board.
She told the paper: “It was a nightmare. For me it was just something that I was completely oblivious to and I think it’s really important that people are aware of it because I think it’s going to catch a lot of people out.
“My passport details say sometime in March, 2023, and before it was always like you need three months to go into Spain from your expiry date so in my view I wouldn’t have thought in a million years that my passport wouldn’t be valid.
“But since Brexit what they’re saying is they take it from the issue date.”
Watch: Long queues form at passport offices amid delays
Current UK government guidance states: “We are asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022.
“Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.”
However, the European Commission says this advice was based on the “stringent possible interpretation of the rules” and that entry should be permitted to all travellers who hold a passport that has been issued within the last ten years.
Ms Smith said she later managed to get a Jet2 flight to join her husband - but that it cost an extra £400.
Another family who were denied permission to travel to Spain despite their passports being valid was the Schoneville family from Motherwell.
They told the Independent they were denied boarding because they were told their 15-year-old son’s passport had expired – even though it has five months to run.
The passport confusion comes amid delays with passport renewals after a surge in applications post-Covid.
The Passport Office advises travellers to apply least 10 weeks before their planned departure date.
The Government has denied delays, but said earlier this week: “We are now seeing unprecedented demand as more than 5 million people delayed applying for passports during COVID-19 because of restrictions in international travel”.