British passport validity for travel to Europe
British Passport validity - Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.
If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.
Your passport must be:
- Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
- Valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
Sign your passport - Following the departure from the EU, it is a requirement for all passports issued by HM Passport Office to be signed. Passports are now not valid until they have been signed.
There are exceptions to this rule: You’re aged 11 or under or you can’t sign because of a disability
In these instances, the passport will show ‘the holder is not required to sign’.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Spain.
Spanish Residents ie those with TIE cards - If you are a British national living in Spain and having rights under the withdrawal agreement, the Embassy in Madrid have clarified that you can enter and exit Spain without any additional validity on your passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling. But for other travel, “normal third country rules apply, so you will need to have a passport that is valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave the Schengen Area and is less than ten years old.”
You can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
If you are travelling to Spain and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.
The 26 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
To stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Spanish government’s entry requirements. You should check with the Spanish consulate in the UK prior to travel regarding what type of visa and/or work permit you may need.
If you are travelling to Spain for work, read the guidance on visas and permits.
If you are unable to return to the UK before the expiry of your visa/permit or visa-free limit due to C-19 restrictions, you should contact your local immigration office (Extranjería) for advice. You can also call 060 from a Spanish phone line.
If you are visiting Spain and need to extend your visa-free stay for exceptional reasons, such as a medical emergency, you must apply to the immigration authorities (Extranjería) to do so.
If you stay in Spain with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
Entry Requirements into Spain from UK
Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Spain as a visitor.
Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.
IF you did not receive a stamp when you should have - When you next enter Spain, you should show evidence of when and where you previously entered or exited the Schengen area and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets. If you wish you can also contact the Spanish Interior Ministry to confirm what evidence will be considered acceptable and/or to complain about your lack of passport stamp. http://www.interior.gob.es/contacto.
Residents of Spain - UK nationals who are resident should not have their passport stamped
You should proactively show your proof of residence - such as the ‘TIE’ (la tarjeta de identidad de extranjero) - as well as your valid passport at Spanish border control.
Additional documents required by tourists
UK nationals entering the Schengen zone as tourists may need to provide additional documents at the border. As well as a valid return or onward ticket, it is possible that travellers to Spain may also be asked to:
show you have enough money for your stay. More information is available from the Spanish Ministry of Interior (in Spanish).
show proof of accommodation for your stay, for example, a hotel booking confirmation, proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home), or an invitation from your host or proof of their address if staying with a third party, friends or family. The Spanish government has clarified that the “carta de invitation” is one of the options available to prove that you have accommodation if staying with friends or family. More information is available from the Spanish Ministry of Interior.
For all other entry requirements into Spain from the UK use this page