Families who lost travel money because of a flawed passport check service will be asking the government for refunds.
Several families told The Independent that the system wrongly informed them their children would not be admitted to European Union countries because their passports were not valid anymore, even though they had many months left until they are due to expire.
The passport checker was set up in the light of Brexit, to tackle the fact that UK adults can no longer use passports older than 10 years.
But this does not apply to children, whose passports last five years and are within post-Brexit EU travel rules.
Despite this, the government’s online facility sparked chaos by telling parents otherwise. The Home Office has since taken the service down.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The passport checker is intended as a guide to help customers decide whether they need to renew their passport for travel to Europe.
“We are aware of an issue with the advice when checking some children’s passports, and so have taken the checker down while we investigate. You can continue to find information about the new rules on gov.uk.
“It is for carriers to determine that they are satisfied their customer’s travel document meets the entry requirements of the country that they are travelling to.”
UK government’s inconsistent rules make it difficult and expensive for UK-EU families to reunite
The news come as the UK government has been facing criticism over its inconsistent travel rules, which make it difficult and extremely expensive for UK-EU families to reunite, a year and a half into the pandemic.
At the beginning of the month, the Department for Transport, said that only NHS-vaccinated UK residents will benefit from new travel measures.
The DfT also confirmed earlier this week that children under 18 are able to skip quarantine and expensive testing upon their UK arrival from an amber list country, but only if they live in the UK.
Labour’s Alexandra Bulat, who is also a EU citizens campaigner at the3million group, said she fails to understand why it is not possible to have the same rules for those who had their vaccine in another country.
“Surely, the Pfizer vaccine we have in the UK is the same as British people in Romania or Romanians getting their vaccine in Romania have,” she told TLE.
In a statement from the Department for Transport, the government argued it is taking a “phased approach” and said they are “already exploring plans to remove quarantine for vaccinated non-UK residents arriving from amber countries later this summer where it is safe to do so.”