You may have to renew your passport by this Friday – or be barred from Europe

Travellers could fall foul of rules for entering countries in the Schengen zone such as France, Spain and Italy

The deadline to renew your passport if you are planning to travel in Europe could be as soon as this Friday – a consumer rights group has claimed.

The millions of UK travellers planning to travel on the continent could be barred from entering several European countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit unless they renew their passports by Friday, according to Which?

Holiday makers and business travellers risk falling foul of rules for entering countries in the Schengen zone such as France, Spain and Italy.

Visitors usually need at least six months left on their passport from the date they arrive.

Until recently, UK citizens who renewed their passport before it expired could have up to nine months of the remaining validity added to their new travel document.

The Government has warned that this time carried over will not count towards the six-month requirement after a no-deal Brexit, meaning people with up to 15 months left on their passport could be denied entry to many popular destinations on the continent.

Figures obtained by Which? show that around 3.5 million current British passports will not comply with the validity rules.

The consumer group noted that Friday will be three weeks before the UK is due to withdraw from the EU, which is the time it takes for passports to arrive after a standard renewal application.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, said: “Millions of people could find their holiday plans disrupted or, worse yet, find themselves stranded at the departure gate and prevented from travelling altogether if they fail to renew their passport before the cut-off date.

“Anyone who thinks they might be affected should look to renew their passport today or if you already have travel plans in the near future, consider using the fast-track passport renewal service.”