Halsbury Travel

Passport Guide

Does my passport need to be valid for 6 months when I travel?

Some countries will not let you enter if your passport has less than six months left to run and the rules vary significantly by country. 

If your passport is in its last year or is nearly full, you should check the rules of the country you plan to visit before booking any travel. You can ask your Travel Adviser or contact the local embassy or consulate of the country concerned. Below is the current British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s advice for each of the countries we travel to.

PLEASE NOTE: this information was correct at the time of writing, for the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Austria

If you are a British passport holder, you do not require a visa to enter Austria. Your passport must be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay but no additional validity beyond this is required. 

Belgium

If your passport states that you are a ‘British Citizen*’, you do not require a visa to enter Belgium. Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay, but no additional validity beyond this is required.

*If you have a different type of British nationality, please check entry requirements with the Belgian Embassy in London. 

Canada

Normally, British Citizens* do not require a visa to enter Canada for short periods of time. Your passport will need to be valid for the entire duration of your stay and, although no period of validity longer than this is required, if you have less than six months left on your passport, it may take slightly longer to pass through immigration. You may also need to demonstrate that you have enough funds to support yourself during your stay in Canada.

Unless otherwise exempted (e.g. if you have a valid Canadian visa or permanent resident card for Canada), you will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada. It is possible to apply for this ahead of time. For further information please see the Canadian government’s website

*Those with a different type of British nationality should contact the Canadian High Commission to check entry requirements. 

China

In order to visit mainland China (but not Hong Kong or Macau), you will need to arrange a visa prior to arrival. For further information on this, please consult the Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months when you enter China, but it does not need to be valid for 6 months after you exit China.

Please note that you may be required to have your fingerprints taken on arrival in China. 

Czech Republic

British Citizens* do not require a visa to enter the Czech Republic, although your passport will need to be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay (no longer period of validity is required). 

*If you have a different type of British nationality, you may require a visa. Please consult the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London for further information. 

Cuba

If you are entering Cuba as a tourist, you will need to get a tourist card before you travel. For further information on this, please contact the Cuban Embassy. Your passport should be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity is required. 

Egypt

You will normally require a visa to enter Egypt. For visits of up to 30 days, you may purchase a visa on arrival in Sterling, US Dollars or Euros – the fee us US$25. Visas are available at approved bank kiosks within the airport arrivals lounge and there is no need to purchase these from an agent, who will likely charge you more. It is also possible to obtain a visa from the Egyptian Consulate before you travel. 

In terms of validity, your passport will need to be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into Egypt. 

France

As a British Citizen*, you do not require a visa to enter France. Your passport should be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but no longer period of validity is required. 

*If you have another type of British nationality, you should check entry requirements on the website of the French Foreign Ministry

Germany

If you are a British Citizen*, you will not require a visa to enter Germany, although your passport will need to be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay.  

*If you have a different type of British nationality, please check entry requirements with the German Embassy

Greece

As a British passport holder, you do not require a visa to enter Greece. Your passport should be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but no longer period of validity is required. 

Hungary

As a British Citizen, you do not require a visa to enter Hungary. Your passport must be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but no longer period of validity is required. 

Iceland

If you hold a passport confirming that you are a British Citizen, British National Overseas or British Overseas Territory Citizen, you do not require a visa to enter Iceland. All other types of British nationals will require a valid Schengen visa to enter Iceland. 

In terms of validity, your passport needs to be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but no longer period of validity is required. 

India

You will need to obtain a visa before entering India, further information on which can be found on the Indian High Commission website. If you hold a passport endorsed ‘British Citizen*’ and meet the various eligibility criteria, you can apply for an e-Tourist Visa which is valid for stays of up to 60 days. 

In terms of validity, your passport must be valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of your visa application, although it is strongly recommended that you ensure it is actually valid for a minimum of 180 days from your entry into India. 

Your passport must be machine readable – if it is not you will be denied entry. Your passport must also have two blank pages for your visa. 

*If you have a different type of British nationality, you may not be eligible for the e-TV. Please check carefully. 

Ireland

Ireland and the UK are part of the Common Travel Area and, as such, British nationals travelling from the UK do not technically require a passport to travel to Ireland. However, as Irish immigration officers do check the ID of all passengers travelling by air, you will likely be asked for proof of nationality. For this reason, it is recommended that you take your British passport with you when you travel to Ireland.

If you do use your British passport to enter Ireland, it should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay and no further period of validity is required.

Italy

As a British national, you do not require a visa to enter Italy. Your passport should be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, although no longer period of validity than this is required. 

Japan

If you hold a ‘British Citizen’ or ‘British National (Overseas)’ passport* you are able to enter Japan without a visa for stays of up to 90 days, although please be prepared to show evidence of a return or onward ticket. 

Your passport must be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, although no longer period of validity than this is required. 

*If you have a different type of British nationality, please check entry requirements with the Japanese Embassy or Consulate

Malta

As a British national, you will not require a visa to enter Malta. Your passport should be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but does not need any longer period of validity than this. 

Morocco

As a British national visiting Morocco for the purposes of tourism for a period of less than three months, you will not require a visa. However, you do need to ensure that your passport is stamped on entry to avoid any issues on exit. 

Your passport must be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay in Morocco, but no longer period of validity is required. However, it is advised that you ensure your passport is not damaged, as some foreign nationals have been refused entry due to damaged passports. 

Netherlands

As a British Citizen*, you do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands. Your passport should be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but no longer period of validity is required. 

However, it is recommended that you ensure that your passport is in good condition as some tourists have had damaged passports impounded, meaning that they have then had to obtain emergency travel documents to leave the country. 

*If you hold another type of British nationality, you should check entry requirements with the Netherlands Embassy in London. 

Poland

If you are a British Citizen* you do not require a visa to visit Poland. Your passport should be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but no longer period of validity is required. 

*If you hold another type of British nationality, you should check entry requirements with the Polish Embassy in London

Portugal

As a British national, you do not need a visa to enter Portugal. Your passport should be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, although no longer period of validity is required. 

Travelling with children – minors under the age of 18 years travelling to Portugal must either:

  • Be accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • Be met at the airport by a parent or guardian
  • Carry a letter of authorisation from a parent or guardian naming the adult in Portugal who will be responsible for the minor during the stay, if the minor is not travelling with a parent or guardian

Russia

You will require a visa to enter Russia. Please note that all applicants over the age of 12 will be required to visit a visa application centre to submit biometric data (scanned fingerprints) – for further information please see the Russian Embassy website

It is strongly recommended that you check carefully the terms and conditions of your visa once you receive it, particularly with regards to entry and exit. 

You will be required to sign a migration card on arrival at the airport. The card comes in two parts, one of which is kept by the Immigration Officer and the other must be kept by you. You may need to produce this at your accommodation and you will need to produce this on exit in order to avoid a fine and possible delay. 

Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa. You must make sure your passport has been signed prior to travel – if it is not you may be denied entry to Russia. 

Spain

If you hold a passport stating that you are a ‘British Citizen’ or ‘British Subject with Right of Abode in the United Kingdom*' you don’t need a visa to enter Spain. Your passport must be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but no longer period of validity than this is required. 

*If you have another type of British nationality, you should check entry requirements with the Spanish Embassy or Consulate.

South Africa

As a British national visiting South Africa for tourism for a period of up to 90 days, you do not require a visa. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 30 days from the date of exit from South Africa and should have at least two blank pages when you present it at immigration on arrival and exit. 

Travelling with children – 

New regulations regarding children travelling to or from South Africa came into effect on 1st June 2015 and are based on the principle that all children require the consent of their parents when entering or leaving the country. In most cases, minors entering or leaving South Africa will need to carry with them several documents, including their unabridged birth certificate with their parents’ details. 

However, for minors travelling with school groups, the required parental consent can be replaced by an affidavit from the Head Teacher confirming that the school holds all the parental consent letters. You will need to complete this consent form. Please also refer to this information sheet, statement by the Home Affairs Director-General and this leaflet.  

Parents and guardians can order the unabridged birth certificate for their children via the gov.uk website if they cannot locate a copy. 

Sri Lanka

You will require a visa to enter Sri Lanka. Tourist visas cover visits of up to 30 days and whilst it is possible to obtain this on arrival, it is advisable to arrange this in advance. This can be done online through the Electronic Travel Authority. For further information on this, please contact the Sri Lankan High Commission in the UK.

Your passport will need to be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Sri Lanka. 

Switzerland

If you hold a passport which states that you are a ‘British Citizen’ or ‘British Subject with Right of Abode in the United Kingdom*' you do not need a visa to enter Switzerland. Your passport will need to be valid for the entire proposed duration of your stay, but no further validity than this is required.

*If you have a different type of British nationality, you should check entry requirements with the nearest Swiss diplomatic mission.

Turkey

You will need a visa to enter Turkey and can obtain this online up to three months in advance via the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website. The visit visa costs US$20 and is valid for multiple stays up to a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period*.

Although not required, it is advisable to print a copy of your e-Visa or keep an electronic copy on your phone or tablet, as this will expedite the process should there be an issue with the computer systems on arrival.  

Please ensure your passport has a blank page for the visa stamp and is valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into Turkey. For further information on entry requirements, please see the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

*If you hold a type of British passport that does not state you are a British Citizen but of a different type of British nationality, please check entry requirements with the Turkish Consulate General

United Arab Emirates

British Citizens* do require a visa to enter the UAE, which can be arranged on arrival and is valid for a period of up to 30 days. 

Your passport will need to be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into the UAE.

*If you hold a type of British passport that does not state you are a British Citizen but of a different type of British nationality, please check entry requirements with the UAE Consulate

USA

Most British Citizen* passport holders can visit the USA for a period of up to 90 days on the Visa Waiver Programme. For further information on the Visa Waiver Programme, please consult the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website

You can complete the registration form online before you travel by visiting the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) website

Please verify that your passport will be valid for the entire duration of your intended stay in the US. No further period of validity is required. 

Travelling with children - 

Minors travelling with persons who are not their parents or legal guardians may be asked to provide certain documents, further information on which can be found on the US Customs and Border Protection website.  

*If you hold a different type of British passport or had your passport extended by 12 months under exceptional measures in 2014, you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate, as you will not qualify for the Visa Waiver Programme

Vietnam

All British passport holders travelling to Vietnam for tourism are able to enter the country without a visa for a period of up to 15 days until 30th June 2018. In order to be eligible for this visa exemption, your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into Vietnam.

You should also make sure your passport is in good condition as the Vietnamese authorities have refused entry to British nationals with damaged passports. 

For further information, please visit the Embassy of Vietnam in London's website

 

Useful Links:
http://www.ips.gov.uk/passport/travel-tips.asp
https://www.gov.uk/browse/citizenship/passports

(Disclaimer: This information is correct to the best of our knowledge but is provided only as a guide. It is your responsibility to ensure you have a valid passport before travelling, so we strongly recommend that you consult the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, or your local embassy for the most up-to-date information on entry requirements).

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