<p>Now boarding? Ryanair is inventing rules on passport validity for travel to EU destinations such as Tallinn, Estonia </p>

Now boarding? Ryanair is inventing rules on passport validity for travel to EU destinations such as Tallinn, Estonia

Ryanair invents ‘five year’ rule for children’s passports

Exclusive: Ryanair wrongly asserts ‘A child’s passport must be no more than five years old on the date of travel’

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 04 May 2022 17:01
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Europe’s biggest budget airline is turning passengers away from flights from the UK to Europe by applying non-existent rules.

Since Brexit, British passports must meet two conditions for travel to the European Union:

  • On the day of travel to the EU, issued less than 10 years ago.
  • On the intended day of leaving the EU, at least three months remaining before the expiry date .

All valid children’s passports automatically meet the first test: they are issued for a maximum of five years and nine months.

But Ryanair insists: ”Under current EU rules which apply, a child’s passport must be no more than five years old on the date of travel.”

There is no such rule. The European Commission confirmed to The Independent:

“The conditions set out in article 6(1)(a) of the Schengen Borders code (i.e. that the passport’s validity shall extend at least three months after the intended date of departure from the Member States territory, and that that the passport shall have been issued within the previous 10 years) must both be complied with at the moment of entry.

“The condition that the passport must have been issued within the previous 10 years does not extend for the duration of the intended stay. It is enough if this condition is fulfilled at the moment of entry.

“To give a practical example, a non-EU traveller arriving on 1 December 2021 for a 20 days stay in the EU with a passport issued on 2 December 2011 and valid until 2 April 2022 will be allowed entry.”

The Independent contacted Ryanair after 15-year-old Zak Schoneville was denied boarding at Glasgow Prestwick airport for a holiday in Tenerife. He carried a perfectly valid passport which was five years, two months old and had five months to run.

The family flew without problem the following day from Edinburgh to Tenerife with Jet2, which applies the rules correctly.

Ryanair has now provided a statement reading: “This UK passenger was correctly denied boarding in Glasgow Prestwick because his passport was not valid for travel to the EU.

“This teenager’s passport was issued in March 2017, and therefore exceeded its permitted five years validity for entry to the EU in March 2022, and was no longer valid for travel on 2 May 2022.”

Demonstrating that this assertion has no basis in fact, Zak Schoneville’s passport was accepted without question both by Jet2 staff at Edinburgh and Spanish border officials on arrival in Tenerife.

Ryanair has also been misapplying European passport rules for adults, denying boarding to many passengers who are correctly documented.

The Independent has asked Ryanair for a meeting to discuss its policies. It has also asked the Civil Aviation Authority what action it will take to persuade the airline to apply the correct rules.

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