THOUSANDS of people have received a text message advising them that thir passports will be invalid if we crash out of the EU without a deal.

But many believed it was a scam. 

The text directs people to a website checker which tells you if you need to renew. 

"I received a text on January 29 telling me my passport would be invalid and I should renew," one reader the Oxford Mail. "But I thought it was a scam. But at the weekend I checked on the website, and my passport would be invalid for travel to any of the EU's Schengen Zone countries [including holiday destinations such as France, Greece and Spain]."

But whilst the focus has been on those whose passports run out in the next six months, a little-known rule could means yours is invalid even if it has more than six months to spare. 

Most passports last for a standard 10 years. But some British passports last for 11 years - because the past government added up to nine months to a new paspsort if you renewed your old one before you needed to. 

But the Shengen Zone rule won't count that extra time - so if you renewed your passport on March 29,2009, your passport will become invalid on March 29, 2019, and the extra nine months won't count. 


The Home Office says a pre-Brexit rush may cause delays to passport renewals, so people whose passports are about to run out are urged to get it sorted as soon as possible. 

It costs £75.50 for a new adult passport and normally there's a three-week turnaround. 

In an emergency there's a one-week turnaround option, which costs £142. But as a No Deal looks increasingly likely, turnaround times could double. 


Pet passports and UK driving licences may also become invalid in Europe if there's a No Deal. You'll probably need an international driving licence. 

Go to for passports, pet passports and driving licences.