It is estimated that at least 2.5 million Britons could be barred from entry to the EU in the New Year unless they renew their passports.
It is also understood that visas will not be needed for short tourist trips whether or not there is a Brexit trade deal, however, fears have been raised that large swathes of people could still be caught out when the transition period ends on January 1.
UK passports are currently valid in the EU and other countries in the Schengen free movement zone right up until their expiry date. The new rule change is expected to catch many people out and could affect as many as 2.5 million people. The UK Passport Office turnaround time is approximately three weeks for online applications, according to the Home Office- this means that those hoping to travel in early 2021 with an expiring passport will need to renew it now.
To complicate matters further, some people whose passports do not expire until the end of 2021 or even the beginning of 2022 may also be turned away when entering the EU. Some UK passports have up to ten years and nine months of validity, but the EU will now ignore the additional nine months.
After the end of the Brexit transition process, European Health Insurance (EHIC) cards will no longer be valid and driving rules will likely change for British holidaymakers also.