British woman barred from boarding Ibiza flight due to Brexit regulation - despite her passport being in date

Caroline Smith was heading away to celebrate her wedding anniversary but was told she couldn’t travel because her passport was issued 10 years ago

Published

A British woman was refused boarding on a flight to Ibiza despite her passport being in date.

Caroline Smith was heading to the Spanish island to celebrate her wedding anniversary but was told she couldn’t travel because her passport was issued 10 years ago and therefore broke EU regulations.

Ms Smith and her husband Dan had already checked in online, but when they arrived at Stansted Airport for the flight on April 28, Ryanair staff told her she would not be allowed to travel.

They cited an EU regulation that was implemented after Brexit.

Caroline Smith was due to fly with Ryanair to Ibiza
Caroline Smith was due to fly with Ryanair to Ibiza

Brits used to be able to travel on passports valid up to and including their expiry date.

But now, those visiting Europe must have a passport issued within ten years of them leaving the country.

While travellers must also have a passport valid for at least three months after the same date.

Mrs Smith’s passport doesn’t expire until March 2023, but the date at which it was issued was June 2012, meaning it falls foul of the issue date requirement.

Speaking after the incident, Mrs Smith told Derbyshire Live: “It was a nightmare. For me it was just something that I was completely oblivious to and I think it’s really important that people are aware of it because I think it’s going to catch a lot of people out.

“Obviously we’re starting to go into summer season, people starting to travel a lot more and what Ryanair are saying is that due to Brexit they’ve made a change.

“So because of that when I went in to check-in my luggage, because I’d already checked in online and no one at that point had flagged it at that point.

Staff at Stansted Airport prevented Ms Smith from flying
Staff at Stansted Airport prevented Ms Smith from flying

“My passport details say sometime in March 2023 and before it was always like you need three months to go into Spain from your expiry date so in my view I wouldn’t of thought in a million years that my passport wouldn’t be valid.

“But since Brexit what they’re saying is they take it from the issue date. Now potentially if your passport has been renewed early which in my case it was because at the time 10 years ago we got married and I’d changed my passport because I wanted to change my name to Smith.

“So they then add on a couple of months to the passport because you’ve renewed it early. Because of that, that then means that some airlines, like Ryanair, are taking it from the issue date.

“The issue date for my passport is in June and they’re saying you need three months from that date.”

Government travel guidance currently says: “We are asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022.

“Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the three months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.

“Check both the issue date and the expiry date in your passport. If you renewed your passport early, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.

“This could affect the requirement for your passport to be less than 10 years old.”