The Health Insurance Group, a provider of health and wellbeing advice and solutions, has warned that businesses with employees that travel to the European Union for work should ensure all passports are renewed in time for the potential outcome of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit situation after 29 March.
UK passports with less than six months left on arrival to the Schengen area may run into difficulty when travelling to and between countries, and if left until the last minute, there could be long delays in processing passport renewal applications, as large numbers of people will likely seek to renew their passports around this time.
UK public sector information website GOV.UK has highlighted that five million UK citizens renewed their passports in 2009 and will need to do so again in 2019 – and with an estimated 4.8 million people within the UK having travelled to the EU for business in 2017, employers need to encourage their staff with British passports to update them sooner rather than later.
Sarah Dennis, Head of International for The Health Insurance Group, said: “While we wait to see the outcome of the Brexit process and the 29 March deadline looms ever closer, organisations cannot risk an abrupt halt to business if no deal is struck, potentially leaving staff unable to conduct their regular affairs in the EU. Our message to businesses is that now is the time to communicate with staff that travel to the EU for work, to ensure that they have a minimum of six months on their passport – or risk not being able to enter a country and continuing to work.”
GOV.UK has released new rules to follow for travel to most countries in Europe should the UK leave the EU with no deal. It advises ‘[having] at least six months left on your passport from your date of arrival, which applies to adult and child passports’, and ‘if you renewed a passport before it expired, up to nine extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date’: “Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the six months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.”
These rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.