Malta has removed misleading statements about passport validity for British travellers from its government website. The inaccurate information, which had been in place for weeks on the foreign ministry pages, made the rules on the validity of UK passports after Brexit seem far more draconian than they actually are.
British passport holders visiting Malta and the rest of the Schengen area (covering most of the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), must meet two independent conditions:
- Issue date less than 10 years earlier on day of entry.
- Expiry date at least three months ahead on day of exit.
But the Maltese authorities bizarrely invented two conditions of its own: one claiming that “travel documents are considered as valid for a maximum of 10 years by all EU immigration authorities”, and a second that “anyone travelling to Malta on a British passport requires a minimum of six months validity beyond the date of their departure from Malta”.
Neither of these assertions is correct, and taken together they suggested anyone with a passport issued more than nine years and six months ago would be refused entry to anywhere in the Schengen area.
The authorities even provided a spurious example, saying: “If your document was issued on 01/01/2013, the expiry date recognised when crossing the Maltese/Schengen border will be 01/01/2023, irrespective of whether your document states a later expiry date.
“It is important that the six months are within the fixed 10-year validity period and not beyond.”
The Independent made repeated requests for Maltese rules to be aligned with the actual European policy. This has now happened, with the previous search result “Travelling to Malta on a British Passport – Malta Foreign Affairs” leading to a non-existent page rather than the misleading statements.
It is not believed that any British travellers were wrongly turned away, but others may have been deterred from visiting by the unnecessarily harsh “rules”.
After choosing to become “third-country nationals”, UK visitors are now required to have evidence of their return or onward travel plans, and to prove that they have sufficient means of subsistence for the length of their stay.
Malta has recently eased its Covid travel restrictions. Visitors aged 12 and above must provide a negative PCR test result if they have not been fully vaccinated (with initial course completed less than 270 days earlier, or a booster jab with no time limit) or have a certificate of recent recovery.
In July 2021, Malta briefly turned away some British travellers who had been immunised against Covid-19 with batch numbers of AstraZeneca vaccine that were thought to be manufactured in India.
The correct rules for British passport holders travelling to the EU can be found here.