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Is your passport valid?


Have you booked your 2023 getaway yet? If so, have you checked your passport is valid?

There have been some changes. Now some EU countries in the Schengen Area are insisting passports must be no more than 10 years old from the point of issue.

A British passport is valid for 10 years if it was issued after you were 16 and 5 years if it was issued before you were 16. It’s easy to forget in those 10 years when you need to renew. However, if your passport has less than 3 or 6 full months left until it expires, some countries may not allow you to travel.

For example, if you need 6 months left, the passport will need to be renewed 9 years and 3 months after the point of issue.

What is the Schengen Area?

Map of Europe with the Schengen Area countries and flags

The Schengen area of free movement allows 26 European countries to abolish their internal borders, for free and unrestricted movement of people[1]. This includes France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

Many holiday makers last year were caught out and were unable to board their flights to some EU countries, including one family who lost out on their £3000 holiday to Portugal.

Previously those travelling on UK passports were able to travel freely within the Schengen Area despite not being a part of the Schengen Agreement. However, as the UK is no longer a member of the European union, countries within the Schengen area are requesting UK passports are no more than 10 years old. So, it’s important to check where you’re travelling and what the travel rules are there.

For a full list of all Schengen area countries check out the EU Website. You can also check the Foreign travel advice for 226 countries and territories at

How to Renew your Passport

If you do need to apply to renew your passport or apply for your first passport there are multiple ways to d

Since 2nd February 2023 the price of passports has risen[2]. If you do need to apply to renew your passport or apply for your first passport, there are multiple ways to do this. Including:

  • Online

This service costs £82.50 for a standard adult passport and £53.50 for a standard child passport.

  • Payment via Debit & Credit
  • Paper Application

Forms are available at most post offices or by calling the Passport Advice Line

This service costs £93 for a standard adult passport and £64 for a standard child passport.[3]

Beware of passport scam sites!

There are currently some websites that look like the official government site, but charge people up to £100 more than the .gov site for ‘passport checking’. Make sure you refer to the above prices when ordering your passport and that you are on the genuine .gov website. If you are still unsure, you can head to your local post office and they will be able to help you find the correct site or help process the application for you with their ‘check & send’ service.

Hand passing over a navy blue British passport


How long does getting a new passport take?

The current waiting time to receive your passport is up to 10 weeks from the UK. This time can differ if you’re applying from outside the UK[4].

You can get a passport quicker for urgent travel for compassionate reasons. For example, if you need to travel urgently for medical treatment or for a bereavement. To speak to an advisor about this, you should call the Passport Advice line on 0300 222 0000.

However, for non-urgent reasons, fast track and premium services are available at an extra cost. These services can be booked 3 weeks in advance and can either be done by applying and paying online, or booking an appointment at the passport office.  

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[2] Proposed changes to passport application fees – GOV.UK (
[3] Passport fees – GOV.UK (
[4] About our services – HM Passport Office – GOV.UK (

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