So it looks like Brexit is going to be the glorious cockup of a thing that people feared. Maybe not quite as hard as I predicted a few months back, but I’m guessing it will be close.

Anyway the prospect of no deal has focused the minds of many British citizens, particularly those that thought they’d like to pop off to somewhere sunnier/warmer/snowier for Easter, and they’ve been taking a look at the official rules and guidance for travel etc.

Her Majesty’s Government has put together a selection of pages specifically covering things like passport and drivers license requirements when going to the EU. These pages include various warnings like

The rules for travel to most countries in Europe change if the UK leaves the European Union (EU) with no deal.
After 29 March 2019:
You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports. …


Now the fascinating thing about this is that some of these ‘rules’ are rather more negative than you find on EU or EU nation pages. For example the EU page on travel documents says

If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport:
– valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting,

The EU page has a “last checked” date of 06 Feb 2019 but is the same as I’ve seen in prior years apart from a box about Brexit. So why does it mention 3 months instead of 6? Well it’s a classic case of needing to read things very closely.

The UK one says you need 6 months when you enter the EU.

The EU says you have to have 3 months validity when you exit the EU. Elsewhere you find that the maximum non-visa visit duration is 3 months.

Therefore you discover that the UK is working on the assumption of a max 3 month stay plus 3 month additional validity to get their 6 months, and this is needlessly overly pessimistic. If you’re planning on popping over next month for the Easter weekend, say, returning 4 days later then you need 3 months + 4 days of passport validity not 6 months.

If your passport expires in August, say, you won’t actually need to have it renewed before your hypothetical Easter trip, but HMG says you do and is thereby causing unnecessary stress, heartburn and frantic efforts to renew passports. It causes me a certain amount of schadenfreudeboner to reflect that the majority of people who are going to be suffering this unnecessary stress are almost certainly remainers.

However, one can’t help but think that this is an example of precisely the sort of bureaucratic gold-plating of EU regulations which was a major contribution to why Leave won the referendum. Given that the UK Civil Service seems to be pretty much united in it’s utter hate for Brexit it seems only fitting that here as we stand on the brink of leaving they STILL can’t change the habit that resulted in the event they hate.