Finance guru Martin Lewis has warned British holidaymakers to check their passports before they head to France, Italy, Greece, Spain or other destinations this summer. Millions of us plan to fly abroad and something going wrong is our worst nightmare.
Martin urged UK tourists to check that their documents and EHIC cards are in order now; that way if something isn’t quite right you have some time to correct them.
Speaking on the Martin Lewis Money Show Live, he explained that there are "two key checks" Brits need to make on their passports, to ensure they are valid for travel.
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He explained: "The first one, you need to check it is under 10 years old on the day you enter the country. People get caught out by that, that is a common condition. Some British passports are over 10 years old and they're still valid but you often can't travel on that.
"And you need to check for many countries, not all, you have at least 6 months left from the day that you enter. If you don't have that then you need to check the country rules to check it is valid.
"Since Brexit even EU countries now require three months' validity and under 10 years old on your passport.
"Well the Passport Office is saying allow up to 10 weeks for renewals, but I'm hearing delays can be longer, and the Fast Track slots are limited. And let me be plain; an invalid passport, the travel insurance company will not allow you to claim if that's the reason you can't go on holiday."
It wasn't just passports which the MoneySavingExpert founder urged people to check. He warned that 5.4million European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are due to expire this year.
If yours is one of them, then you'll need to get it replaced for a GHIC which is "basically the same thing".
Following a backlog caused by the Covid pandemic which saw millions of Brits leaving their passport renewals until travel reopened, and Passport Office strikes back in May, you could face at least a few weeks' wait for a new passport.
The UK's Passport Office advises leaving 10 weeks for the renewal process to be completed, from the moment officials receive all the required documents including your old passport.
According to passportwaitingtime.co.uk, the current average wait is 23 days, which could leave you decent wiggle room ahead of the school holidays – so the earlier you check your documents, the better!
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