Passports Getting Shorter – Don’t Get Caught Out!

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Ok, so “Passports Getting Shorter”, could easily be a Brexit-related headline these days, assuming newspaper Editors had finally realised that most people got bored discussing the colour ages ago (if they ever cared at all). I do not mean, however, that passports are going to be physically shorter in future, but that the expiry date on new passports might not be what you would expect.

New adult passports will still be issued with a 10 year expiry, but any time left on your current passport when you apply for a new one will no longer be added to that 10 years. The change was brought in overnight and without any fanfare, so it’s not surprising that people have been surprised (and sometimes mildly irritated 😉 ) to discover that time left on their old passport has been lost.

First Class Boarding Pass

Don’t get caught out

I can’t honestly pretend to get too upset about a change which effectively means the price of a 10-year passport is a tiny bit higher per year (or more specifically, per month) than it used to be, but there is one thing to be aware of that might catch some people out.

Many countries require you to have at least 6 months validity left on your passport in order to be granted entry. If you were trying to save a few quid, you might think it best to leave renewing your passport until the latest possible time, but that’s potentially a very expensive mistake – don’t do it. Save yourself the hassle and possible expense, and just get your new passport sorted with plenty of time to spare (more than 6 months before expiry!).


This is undoubtedly a negative change, but don’t let the desire to save some pennies accidentally end up ruining a holiday and/or leading to a big bill.

The 6 month validity rule enforced by some countries means that if your passport is expiring in April/May 2019, you really should be applying for a new one right now!


  1. Wendy Bridges says

    Just checked mine (received yesterday) and yes 10 years from the date of issue (I only lost a month but didn’t realize). On the plus side I applied on-line on Friday and posted old passport back Saturday – received new passport on Wednesday so only 3 days which really impressed me.

  2. Michael Jennings says

    IATA recommendations state that passports should be issued for validity periods of no more than ten years. By adding a few months to this to include the remaining time on previous passports being renewed, the UK was in breach of these recommendations. By being in breach of these recommendations, the UK was potentially creating problems for travellers, so they have come into line. A consequence of this may be that a few people have to renew passports slightly (up to six months) more frequently than once every ten years. I have no idea whether any such cases have actually happened – countries are free to accept other people’s documents – or not – regardless of whether recommendations have been adhered to – but their grounds for coming into line with the recommendations are reasonable.

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