From a listener to my LBC show...

I’m a big fan, I listen to your show every day. This is about a Passport disappointment (I can’t say passport hell because there’s so much going on in this world). BUT, I think people need to be warned about this because lots of family’s getting caught out at airports and sent home. I was travelling to Italy yesterday with my wife and four young boys, already checked in and ready to travel, only to be stopped at passport control and told I couldn’t travel on my fully valid British/EU Passport because although it has 1-year until expiry, the EU no longer accept passports older than ten years (mine was ten years and a few days).

Furthermore, we were sent to Ryanair Customer services to be told by their Italian representative that ‘it’s our own fault for leaving the EU’ and that it’s also our fault for lying when completing the online checkin. LYING just what you need at a time like this. They said we were lying because I put in the expiry date printed on my passport and not the expiry date I should have calculated from the issue date…so the passport expiry date for EU countries is irrelevant! The passport has to be within 9-years and 9 months or six depending on which European country.

So, I phoned the passport office and left my number, they promptly called me back and suggested I go to the passport office in Eccleston Square in London and get a same day emergency passport.

Great I thought. So I insisted my wife kids travel without me, I’d go to London, update my passport and catch them up Monday latest. Off they went sobbing. One of my little boys had a panick attack on the flight but need to say he’s okay now.

Get to the passport office and join the queue. WOW…so much pushing and shoving and shouting from other people. It was awful. Every time I got to the front, someone who’d already been chased off jumped back in front. Everyone with their own issue.

Well the UK’s idea of an emergency passport is earliest appointment 18-days later. I would imagine it’s no longer an emergency three weeks later!?!

And I was not the only one caught out like this. There were four other people in my queue traveling with young kids, only to be told the same thing.

There is nothing I can see on the UK passport website which warns you about this, it just states that so long as you have more than six months on your passport it is valid. But EU countries no longer accept this.

Iain, Please warn people about this so they don’t turn up at the airport and get turned away. It would be so helpful if you could help spread the message to warn people that the expiry date on their British passport doesn’t matter. EU countries are deciding if a passport is valid or not and their criteria is sometimes different from country to country. Lots of people getting caught out on this. 


You have been warned. And it seems this isn't just concerning Italy, it's the whole of the EU. I always thought as long as you had 6 months left on your passport you were OK to travel. Not to the EU, it seems, any longer. The date of expiration on my listener's passport was 1 December 2022.


The UK Government's travel advice to Italy is HERE.