The holiday season is just beginning (or well underway if you’re lucky). Aside from the normal ‘what to pack’ lists, currency to sort, and who will water the plants whilst you’re away, there are a few more points that you should consider before you set off on your travels.

You may have seen in the media recently the story about a family who couldn’t go on their long-awaited holiday because one of their passports did not meet the required EU conditions. We want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you, so we’ve taken a look at what the new rules are.

After Brexit, UK passport holders lost the right to be admitted to many European countries and to stay as long as they wanted. New stipulations on passport issue, expiry dates and length of stay have been added to almost everywhere in Europe, which if not met, means that you will be unable to travel to these affected countries.

First you now must have at least six months validity on your passport before you start your trip.

You should know that different areas of Europe have different rules. We’ve looked at the Schengen Area, which consists of 26 countries who have abolished their internal borders to allow the free movement of people - they require the following:

• your passport must be valid for at least three months on the date that you leave the EU country you are visiting

• it must have been issued in the past 10 years at the time of entry

If your passport is valid for more than 10 years, in the EU the 10 years starts from the original issue date. So if your passport has more than 10 years, which sometimes happened if you replaced your passport a few years or months before the original expiration date, these ‘extended’ years are not applicable.

Other countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Cyprus and Romania have different rules and you should check exactly what is required before you travel.

Your passport

If your passport does not meet the new requirements, you should apply for a new one before travelling to the affected country. In fact, it’s advisable not to even book your travel until your passports meets the necessary entry requirements. Double check and give yourself plenty of time to apply – it always take longer to sort the paperwork and receive your new passport, than you think it will!

It’s recommended that you check the FCDO website of your destination for further information on permits, visas and border control.

The other thing you might well be doing on your holiday is driving! If you’re driving in Europe, we have some top tips, provided by our breakdown partner The RAC.

There are a number of important documents that you will need to take with you, which we’ve summarised below.

• Full, valid driving licence and National Insurance number

• Proof of vehicle insurance

• Proof of ID (ideally your passport)

• V5C certificate (this is your logbook)

• Travel insurance documents

• European breakdown cover – policy number and documents

• Ensure your vehicle’s MOT and tax is up to date

• Crit’air sticker (if you’re driving in France)

You can see The RAC’s Driving Abroad checklist here.

Here are a few more suggestions for a safe and happy driving experience in Europe!

• Adjust your headlights – this is a legal requirement and stops you from dazzling oncoming drivers!

• Buy a UK sticker and place on your vehicle – in some EU countries you can incur an on the spot fine without one

• Make a travel pack – to contain all your necessary documents including your insurance details, and add in your emergency contact details so everything is easily accessible if needed

• Ensure your breakdown cover extends to Europe! Of course we can help you arrange that, just give us a call on 01480 402460

• Check to see if the country you’re visiting has a visa requirement

• Check your passport to make sure it complies with the new requirements

• Make sure you have any necessary vaccinations

• Check to see if you need an international driving permit

• Make sure you vehicle is in good working order

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to organise insurance for your vehicle, breakdown cover or travel insurance. We’re here to help in any way that we can and hope you have a happy holiday!

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