MARTIN Lewis has issued to a reminder to Brits planning on travelling abroad this summer.
The MoneySavingExpert founder has warned that holidaymakers could be caught out if they don’t check the expiry dates on passports and GHIC / EHIC health cards.
If it’s been a while since you last travelled and you’re not sure if you’re documents are all still valid, it’s important to check them in plenty of time before your summer break.
Check the expiry date on your passport
First things first, check how long your passport has before it expires.
Martin Lewis said in his latest newsletter: “Check if your passport will have under 6 months left or be over 10 years old when you go.
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“Brexit means more countries now require UK passports to have months left on them, and be under 10 years old, to let you in.”
The new rules were introduced after the UK left the EU, regarding how many months are needed to be on the passport to be able to travel.
Previously, Brits just needed to have a passport that was in date to be able to travel to countries across Europe, but new rules are now in place.
The government website confirms that Brits need to have at least three months left on their passport to be able to travel to an EU country, stating it must be “valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)”.
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Give yourself plenty of time to renew passport
Secondly, give yourself plenty of time to renew your passport as wait times are currently double the usual amount.
Martin Lewis said: “If you need to renew, go quick, as the UK Passport Office is over-burdened and under-resourced.
“It says to allow ‘up to 10 weeks’ to get a passport, but I’m hearing it’s taking even longer for some, and paying to ‘fast-track’ isn’t an option for many as there are few appointments.”
4.5million Brits will see their travel documents expire before the 18th July 2022, the week that many schools in England and Wales start to break up for summer.
Anyone planning a foreign break will need to apply for renewal by May 9 if they want it in time for the start of the school summer holidays.
Check your EHIC / GHIC expiry date
If your passport is all in order, it’s also important to check your GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) or EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), which gives you access to healthcare across the EU for the same prices as a local.
The GHIC has replaced the old-style European Health Insurance Cards, although your EHIC will stay valid if it is within its expiry date.
According to Martin Lewis, 5.6 million GHIC or EHIC cards will expire this year.
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He said: “If you have an old school European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), check it’s still valid. If not, most now need to apply for its post-Brexit replacement, the FREE Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).”
Be aware that your EHIC or GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance as it may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs.