Ryanair updates passport rules for children after Scots boys blocked from flights


Ryanair has changed its passport rules for children after enforcing a regulation that did not exist.

The airline wrongly claimed children’s passports must be no more than five years old on the date of travel.

It comes as a family from Motherwell shared how their teenage son was turned away from boarding a Ryanair flight allegedly due to an issue with his passport’s validity.

Another Scottish family has since told the Daily Record of how the airline blocked their 11-year-old from flying for the same reasons, which left the boy in tears.

Ryanair has since apologized for the error and has updated its guidelines.

A Ryanair plane lands at Dublin Airport on September 21, 2017.
Ryanair staffers incorrectly enforced a non-existent EU passport rule

In a statement to the Record, Ryanair said: “Our Immigration Dept. have now clarified this case with the EU Commission and we now accept that our handling agents at Glasgow Prestwick Airport wrongly believes that this child’s passport was not valid for travel as they wrongly believed that a child’s passport must be no more than 5 years old on the date of travel, whereas in fact, all UK nationals traveling to the EU, regardless of age, must meet the same entry requirements for travel to the EU, which are:

“1. Passports must be issued within 10 years of the date of arrival into the EU.

“2. The passport must be valid for at least three months from the return date of travel from the EU, unless the passenger has a Schengen issued Residence Permit or a Schengen long term visa.

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“In light of this clear error on our part, we have written to his family and given them a full refund of GBP £313.79 cost of their unused flights and as a gesture of goodwill we have also given them a travel voucher for another £315 which we hope they will use to book more Ryanair flights for the family in the very near future.

“We sincerely apologize for the error we made in this case and we have updated our briefing notes to all our airport handling agents to ensure this error does not recur.”

So what are the rules exactly? Here are the actual policies all UK holidaymakers – and children – need to follow.

What are the passport rules in the EU after Brexit?

Man receiving new post Brexit blue British passport with old European Union red one the table Devon, United Kingdom, January, 2021.
There are two rules for Brits traveling to the EU after Brexit

The EU guidelines lay out two conditions that all British passport holders must meet post-Brexit.

  1. UK passports must have been issued less than 10 years ago on the day of travel to the EU.
  2. The passport must have at least three months’ remaining validity when a traveler leaves the EU.

How do the EU passport rules apply to children?

This means British children always meet the first condition as their passports are issued for a maximum validity period of five years and nine months.

However, parents and guardians should make sure their children’s passports meet the validity period required.

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

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“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 traveler 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.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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