UK travellers urged to check passports or risk being barred from EU

British holidaymakers have been urged to check their passports or run the risk of being banned from entry into European countries.

After Brexit the UK is no longer part of the EU, so anyone heading abroad inside the Schengen Area will now need to receive a stamp at passport control when they enter or leave.

The problem arises if anyone doesn’t have their passport stamped on their return to the UK, reports the Mirror.

Residency rules mean people can only stay within EU countries for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period. But sometimes when leaving a country, immigration officials may not bother to stamp a passport and so it could look as though a traveller had been inside the country for the whole time when they look to return.

The Foreign Office has now moved to advise people of the risk. Its latest advice states: “Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area.

“If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.”

It added: “You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.”

It comes as a British woman was refused permission to enter Spain from Gibraltar because she didn’t have an exit stamp from her previous trip.

She told thelocal.es: “The guards initially stamped my passport to enter, then they noticed I had no exit stamp from that one-week visit in June, thereby classing me as an overstayer and subsequently marked the entry stamp with the letter F and two lines.”

She said that she had proof that she had been in the UK but this was not accepted.

“Even though I have proof of returning to the UK via banking activity as well as the test and trace Covid app, the border guards would not accept or look at any proof nor let me speak to anyone that could help,” said the 72-year-old.

“My son, who speaks Spanish, tried to explain that I had other proof of returning to the UK but the guards would not accept or even consider looking at it.

“They just kept insisting that I had no stamp, that I had overstayed and would be arrested as illegal.”