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28th September 2020, 13:12

Government advises public to ensure passports are valid before end of transition period

The Government has advised the public to ensure their passports are valid and to renew them as soon as possible if they need to, before the end of the transition period on the 31st December.

In its third technical notice, the Government says in the event that a deal is not reached, UK nationals living in Gibraltar must be in possession of a valid passport as there will be different conditions for entering the Schengen Area – including Spain.

The Government says processes and procedures will change on 1 January 2021 if no agreement is reached with the EU by the end of the transition period.

It says it might be the case that British Gibraltarians won’t be able to enter the Schengen area with their ID card alone, in a no-deal scenario.

A valid passport is one that has at least six months left until its expiry date, and is less than 10 years old. Number Six asks the public to begin renewal processes as soon as possible, so documents can be produced ahead of the end of the transition period deadline.

Visas, however, won’t be necessary as reciprocal arrangements will be put in place between the UK and the EU for visa-free travel.

Going forward, travel authorisations would be granted under an EU system named ETIAS, but this is only set to become operational in 2022.

The technical notice says EU member state border authorities – including Spanish nationals – can enquire as to the purpose of a visit by a third country national.

The Government advises UK nationals to be able to also provide information such as bookings or proof of sufficient funds.

On a more positive note, the Government says it's involved in constructive discussions with all parties, including the Spanish Government, to reach permanent solutions. It says if a deal is struck before the 31st December, these solutions could include Gibraltar residents being able to use ID cards as opposed to passports.