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U.S. Passport will expire within 6 months of entering Spain. Help!

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I just realized my passport expires in January of 2022. I leave for Spain Sept. 9th returning on the 27th. There is a long wait for passports and I hate to apply and send my passport in to be renewed. Does anyone have experience with this situation and advice as to what to do? Thanks.
Straight from the horse’s mouth — your passport must be valid for three months beyond the date of departure.


This makes sense, because as a US citizen you can only stay in Spain for 3 months without a visa.

One more worry to cross off the list, @Dianne Hartenburg. Have a wonderful camino!

Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member

Morning Waters

Celtic Lass
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Good information. I was surprising to see:

Americans to Apply for EU Travel Authorization starting 2022​

US citizens will have to apply for an ETIAS prior to their travel towards Europe, in order to be allowed to enter the territory, by the end of 2022.

This was something I had not heard about. Though I am confused if it means one must get an ETIAS for any travel during 2022 or for any travel after 2023.
 
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JLV

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Yes I saw on the news here in the states, that they have a backlog of 22 million passports.

Long wait
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
IATA's travel center is a good resource for checking visa and passport requirements. It takes you through a set of questions because the rules will depend on those factors:

For US passport holders who reside in the US and are travelling for tourism to Spain, it states:

Document Validity:​

Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid for a minimum of 3 months beyond the period of intended stay.


That's period of intended stay. Check the last date that you intend to be in Spain and count three months from there.

The IATA tool is powered by the same database (Timatic) that the airline check-in agents use when determining whether to allow you to board the flight. IATA advises people to check with their airline for the latest information about COVID related health requirements but you can consider IATA to be a pretty authoritative source for information about passport and visa requirements.


[EDIT TO ADD - I wouldn't bother trying to find a rationale for why a country requires your passport to be valid for a certain length of time. It might seem "logical" that the requirement be similar to the length of time that a tourist can visit, but in my experience it isn't always the case.
  • Japan will let you in for 90 days right up to the day before your passport expires.
  • Nigeria won't issue you a visa if your passport is shiny and new (issued less than 6 months ago).
  • China won't issue you a visa if the passport has less than six months life remaining.
  • If you need to visit China and Nigeria on the same trip and your passport expires in 5 months and 29 days, you are going to have an interesting and expensive experience ...
  • Some countries (China? Russia? NZ?) demand that you have a certain number of blank pages in your passport
The IATA tool will tell you about all of the above and more].
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I had just cut and was ready to paste the following from an older post of mine when I noticed the post by @Raggy above. I'm sending it anyway as it does have some extra information. Do use the IATA form and not the United Airlines one as United doesn't ask about passport expiration.
Countries fine airlines that send over visitors that the governments will not allow in and the airlines also have to send them back at their own cost. So the airlines use their International Air Transport Association to keep track of the entry requirements. IATA publishes the information as a book called Travel Information Manual (TIM) and they also have it computerized as Travel Information Manual Automatic (TIMATIC.)
TIMATIC can be accessed via the web url https://www.iatatravelcentre.com but the following site provides a somewhat easier interface (but likely not as good for general use): https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/vendors/default.aspx?i=TIMATIC
See also:
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Good information. I was surprising to see:

Americans to Apply for EU Travel Authorization starting 2022​

US citizens will have to apply for an ETIAS prior to their travel towards Europe, in order to be allowed to enter the territory, by the end of 2022.

This was something I had not heard about. Though I am confused if it means one must get an ETIAS for any travel during 2022 or for any travel after 2023.
I wouldn't worry about that just yet. The start date for the ETIAS has already been delayed several times. And it will just be something that you do online and pay a small fee - less than 10 Euro I believe. It's similar to the ESTA that travelers from visa waiver countries need to get before arriving in the US, or the ETA for Canada.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid for a minimum of 3 months beyond the period of intended stay.


That's period of intended stay. Check the last date that you intend to be in Spain and count three months from there.

Raggy, thanks so much for this. Knowing when the 3 month period begins is crucial.

Take a look at what the State Department says. Requirements for US travelers going to Spain. (Taken off the site I linked to above):

PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months recommended, 3 months beyond your date of departure is required


That is ambiguous, it does not specify WHICH departure is the crucial date — the date you depart from the US or the date you depart from Spain to go home. But I think most people probably read that the way I did — date of departure from the US.

But based on what you say, that is incorrect. That could be hugely consequential in a close case. I wish there were a suggestion box so we could write to the US State Dept with suggestions for making this clear. Because anyone who is worried and with only a few months left in their passport could really get messed up with the wrong interpretation!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months recommended, 3 months beyond your date of departure is required


That is ambiguous, it does not specify WHICH departure is the crucial date — the date you depart from the US or the date you depart from Spain to go home.
After seeing your post @peregrina2000 saying that the rules were the same for all the Schengen zone countries I revisited the link that you gave for Spain and in the URL I changed Spain to France. That U.S. State Department page was much clearer about the rules. Later I remembered the IATA website. The forms there are pretty important because the airlines won't let you leave home if you don't meet their requirements even if you are allowed in at your destination country if you could get there.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
That U.S. State Department page was much clearer about the rules.
Kind of hard to believe that the US State Department would have a website in which they give clear information for France, and ambiguous information for Spain.

But just for kicks, I changed the URL as you did and looked at Malta, Italy, Greece, Germany, and Slovenia. ALL OF THEM have the correct information and say:

PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.


The person doing Spain’s page must have had a bad day.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I just realized my passport expires in January of 2022. I leave for Spain Sept. 9th returning on the 27th. There is a long wait for passports and I hate to apply and send my passport in to be renewed. Does anyone have experience with this situation and advice as to what to do? Thanks.
I heard on the news today that it's taking up to 18 weeks to renew a passport right now.
Fortunately, as others have mentioned, you don't need 6 months validity, but only 3 months after your date of departure from Europe - in your case, December 27th, so you are just under the wire with your January expiration.
My passport expired this past January so I sent it off for renewal in November. It did take longer than normal - but not 18 weeks! I think that I got it back in mid January.
 

moss7

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I just realized my passport expires in January of 2022. I leave for Spain Sept. 9th returning on the 27th. There is a long wait for passports and I hate to apply and send my passport in to be renewed. Does anyone have experience with this situation and advice as to what to do? Thanks.
You should still be able to pay for expedited renewal. It might require going in person to the nearest state department passport office
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
  1. Check your passport will be valid for at least three months after your planned departure from the Schengen Area - e.g., Spain.
  2. Go, experience and enjoy your pilgrimage. Buen Camino!
  3. On return, assuming you have no immediate plans to travel internationally, then apply for a passport renewal. NOTE: US Citizens with enhanced "Real ID' driver's license can drive or take a cruise ship to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Islands (Caribbean) using only the Real ID driver license. These driver's licenses all have a star superimposed in the upper right hand corner of the license. Your citizenship (US) was verified when you got this license.
But, you CANNOT FLY into these same countries. ANY international airplane travel requires a passport. Also, if a country (e.g. Canada) has closed its border to drive across people due to COVID issues, that is a wholly separate issue.

Consider that, part of the current backlog is the pent-up demand of people who failed to renew during the COVID shutdown, when the passport renewal business was likely slow, and then joined in the mad rush to renew in May, June, and July, etc.

This is a version of the pig in the python metaphor. IMHO, it will all settle down in the autumn. By the end of 2021, I suspect we will be back to normal passport renewal turnaround times.

I hope this helps.

Tom
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
The last time I renewed my passport (by mail) they said allow 6 weeks and I received it in approximately 2 weeks. Also, depending where you live there are offices where you can stand in line and get your passport the same day. I am pretty sure Chicago has one. Good Luck!
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I went through the passport renewal hassle in May-June for a late June trip that required the six month validity. I sent it for expedited renewal via the Dept of State website renewal, which includes dates of departure. It was returned a week beforehand; a successful, but nail-biting process. If I had it to do over, I would pay the $100-plus to use a DC expediter. They will essentially walk it through.
 

Mera

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
I just realized my passport expires in January of 2022. I leave for Spain Sept. 9th returning on the 27th. There is a long wait for passports and I hate to apply and send my passport in to be renewed. Does anyone have experience with this situation and advice as to what to do? Thanks.
Do you have a ticket? You can expedite it for a fee. It used to comes back in about 2-3 weeks. In certain cases, you can even go to the local passport office, we have one in Chicago, get it on the same day.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It was returned a week beforehand; a successful, but nail-biting process. If I had it to do over, I would pay the $100-plus to use a DC expediter.
Oh, you just jolted my memory. One year when we were living in Lisbon, we had a Christmas visit from the kids planned. Two days before the flight, my daughter realized she couldn’t find her passport. I quickly got online and booked one of those DC expediters, and miracle of miracles, she had her passport in time for the flight.

My memory of this is vague, since it was decades ago, but I do remember that there are slots available to book for same day service for passport renewal, but the expediters tend to book them all and then sell their services. In this case, I was delighted to find one available and pay the fee. Talk about nail bighting!
 

Mera

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
Were you living in Lisbon? It's one of my favorite cities. Where else do you buy wine by a cup from a street vendor! All those great restaurants. Some people are SO lucky.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Year of past OR future Camino
2014
I just realized my passport expires in January of 2022. I leave for Spain Sept. 9th returning on the 27th. There is a long wait for passports and I hate to apply and send my passport in to be renewed. Does anyone have experience with this situation and advice as to what to do? Thanks.
Hi Dianne! Welcome to the forum! Aren't the answers you get just fabuloso?? 🥰😍
 

artsschmidt

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
August 25, 2016
I had to get a new passport and had three days to do it. All my phone calls were useless. One person said they could get me an appointment at the office in Seattle if I flew from San Francisco and back. What eventually happened ....I paid an expeditor in the Haight/Ashberrry (sp) neighborhood and he had a standing appointment to walk through for folks that had travel plans. I had to show proof I needed it very soon. It costs me an additional 100-150 dollars but was worth it. I was on my way to Italy to celebrate the end of cancer treatment.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
NOTE: US Citizens with enhanced "Real ID' driver's license can drive or take a cruise ship to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Islands (Caribbean) using only the Real ID driver license. These driver's licenses all have a star superimposed in the upper right hand corner of the license. Your citizenship (US) was verified when you got this license.
Side note to your note - if your drivers license is not due to expire soon but your passport is, it may be a better deal to add a passport card for $30 to your passport renewal than to get Real ID drivers license. It is also accepted for air travel within the US and land crossings in Canada and the US. Of course you can always use your regular passport for these purposes too.
The last time I renewed my passport (by mail) they said allow 6 weeks and I received it in approximately 2 weeks.
That was during normal times. Right now they are saying 18 weeks.
When I renewed in November it took about two full months. Like yours, previous renewals just took a couple of weeks.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I am a belt and suspenders (braces) kind of person. I have a national passport, a passport card, and an enhanced driver's license. Then I also have my Global Entry membership card. When I return to the US, I basically go to a kiosk at the arrival airport and let myself in.
 

wmsue

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
A while back my Mom needed her passport renewed quickly and after contacting the local state Congressman, his office took care of the details and hand delivered it my Mom a few days later. No charge of course.

William
 
I was on hold 90 minutes with United Airlines today. I was told if my passport does not expire for 3 months after my return ticket to the USA, I will be fine. Since I return on the 27th of September I just make the requirements by 4 days! (My passport expires January 2022.) However, I will call the Passport Department to double check to be on the safe side. When I get home in September, I will send for my renewal.
 

Mera

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
Yes, each congressman or senator has a liaison officer/staff, specifically for the purpose of handling certain issues raised by their constituents/voters, but please do understand that they have to handle more urgent and real humanitarian issues everyday, sometimes life threatening. Unless your case is so compelling, I beg you not to use this avenue. It might be hard to imagine for the citizens of the United States who are endowed with so many rights and protection that they take granted, there are many people in needs who have nowhere to turn.
 

Mera

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
I was on hold 90 minutes with United Airlines today. I was told if my passport does not expire for 3 months after my return ticket to the USA, I will be fine. Since I return on the 27th of September I just make the requirements by 4 days! (My passport expires January 2022.) However, I will call the Passport Department to double check to be on the safe side. When I get home in September, I will send for my renewal.
The key word here is "3 months after my return ticket to the USA". The government of the USA does not control the immigration laws of other countries. The decision to inspect and admit a national and/or citizen of another country absolutely belongs to each sovereign country. The conventional rule is that the passport should be valid 6 months or longer than the admission date. USA government does not admit those whose passports expire within less than 6 months of admission. We, the citizens of the USA, should respect the same rule.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
The conventional rule is that the passport should be valid 6 months or longer than the admission date. USA government does not admit those whose passports expire within less than 6 months of admission. We, the citizens of the USA, should respect the same rule.
I disagree. We need to respect the rules of the country that we are visiting. In the case of Spain, the passport needs to be valid for 3 months after the date of departure from Spain.

I do agree with you that expediting a passport for the purpose of leisure travel does not constitute an emergency and requesting the aid of your congressperson is not appropriate.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
The conventional rule is that the passport should be valid 6 months or longer than the admission date. USA government does not admit those whose passports expire within less than 6 months of admission. We, the citizens of the USA, should respect the same rule.
Do you mean to say that US citizens when returning to the USA should have a passport that is still valid for 6 months ??? I don't know what the US government has to say on this but I do know that this "conventional rule that the passport should be valid 6 months or longer than the admission date" is not as conventional, or universal, as one might think, certainly nor for or in the EU. There are laws for:
  • the validity of the passport of a non-EU citizen who wants to travel to an EU country. As already stated numerous times: those passports have to be valid for at least 3 more months, counted from the day of intended departure from the EU territory. This answers the OP's question who is a US passport holder and wants to travel to Spain. She intends to leave Spain and the EU towards the end of September; add three months and you arrive at the end of December; her US passport expires in early January; she is good to travel from the US to Spain as planned.

  • the validity of the passport/ID card of an EU citizen who wants to travel to another EU country. Although there are no border controls as a rule, EU citizens are required to travel with ID in the form of a passport or national ID card. Absolutely necessary to have for Camino walking in Spain as you must show your passport/ID card when checking into an hotel or an albergue.

  • the validity of the passport/ID card of an EU citizen who travels back to his/her own country. In this case, often passports/ID cards are allowed that are already past their validity date. This is even legal for travelling between a number of EU countries, due to old agreements that are still in force, for example there is such an agreement between Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia and Hungary for travellers who have a passport from any of these five countries - they can travel with a passport that has already expired for up to five years; similar between France and Germany; and between others. Spain accepts EU passports as valid that have already expired for up to one year.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Good to know about all the different requirements vis a vis expiry dates. We had the same experience when traveling to Japan. The travel agent noted that my wife's passport was going to expire inside the time limit and we were only about three weeks from our departure date. The travel agent connected us to an expeditor and we got the renewed passport with a week to spare. Price was $100 for the expeditor, but worth it given how much we had prepaid for the two week trip to Kyoto and Tokyo.
We now renew at least three months early when our expiry dates approach.
Buen Camino.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Do you mean to say that US citizens when returning to the USA should have a passport that is still valid for 6 months ???
For some reason, I once asked a passport checker that precise question at Immigration. He told me that I could enter even if my passport had expired. I think it has to do with the country of destination, not the country of origin.
 
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witsendwv

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015)
I heard on the news today that it's taking up to 18 weeks to renew a passport right now.
Fortunately, as others have mentioned, you don't need 6 months validity, but only 3 months after your date of departure from Europe - in your case, December 27th, so you are just under the wire with your January expiration.
My passport expired this past January so I sent it off for renewal in November. It did take longer than normal - but not 18 weeks! I think that I got it back in mid January.
My passport was due to expire this fall, but sent it in January just in case since we were not sure when we were going to travel. It took only two weeks to process and return. I sent it certified return receipt mail, and it took almost a month to get to the passport office. I thought the US Mail had lost it!! :confused:
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
We had the same experience when traveling to Japan. The travel agent noted that my wife's passport was going to expire inside the time limit and we were only about three weeks from our departure date.
Japan is actually very relaxed about entry with soon-to-expire travel documents. If you're travelling with a US or EU passport, I am pretty sure you can enter on its last day of validity. If your passport expires while you are in Japan, you can get a new one from your embassy. It may still be preferable to get an expedited passport before leaving, but in principle at least, you can enter Japan until your passport expires.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Above all don't lose any of your travel IDs/Passports.
Border control in your home country will take a dim view of you arriving home without a passport even if you have scanned/photo images on your phone - ask me how I know!
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Border control in your home country will take a dim view of you arriving home without a passport even if you have scanned/photo images on your phone - ask me how I know!
Go on then. How do you know?

I believe UKBA is supposed to work with British citizens who arrive without documentation to find an alternative way to verify their identity and citizenship. It doesn't surprise me to hear that they do it with "attitude."
 
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Mariy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Camino 2019
If at all possible, get your passport renewed. I travelled with someone who had the same problem and she was flagged by the ticket agents and passport control every single time. It was such a hassle for her.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Go on then. How do you know?

I believe UKBA is supposed to work with British citizens who arrive without documentation to find an alternative way to verify their identity and citizenship. It doesn't surprise me to hear that they do it with "attitude."
As told elsewhere here but . . . lost my UK passport and (worse still) my Ingles Credential late on the night before my early morning flight home from SdC.
Decided to chance it as I had scans of my passport and my UK/EU driving licence on me.
EasyJet couldn't have been more sympathetic and one of their staff went to Spanish Border Control with me. Border Control couldn't have been more helpful either, they looked at my driving licence and waved me through.
When it was time to board the plane the EJ lady reappeared and made sure I got on.
At Gatwick however . . . I explained what had happened to a surly Immigration Clerk who gruffly asked how I'd managed to get on the plane. I was tired, I was stressed and so, to lighten the moment said that I'd walked up the stairs like everybody else. Oops!
Sitting in a holding pen with a dozen or so disreputable fellow passengers, they took away my licence and my phone (but didn't ask for the unlock PIN) and left me there for 30 minutes or so as we were eyed up by new arrivals walking past.
The clerk returned and gave me my things saying I could go but should have gone to Madrid and obtained a new passport from the Embassy there"
Welcome back to the UK.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
As told elsewhere here but . . . lost my UK passport and (worse still) my Ingles Credential late on the night before my early morning flight home from SdC.
Decided to chance it as I had scans of my passport and my UK/EU driving licence on me.
EasyJet couldn't have been more sympathetic and one of their staff went to Spanish Border Control with me. Border Control couldn't have been more helpful either, they looked at my driving licence and waved me through.
When it was time to board the plane the EJ lady reappeared and made sure I got on.
At Gatwick however . . . I explained what had happened to a surly Immigration Clerk who gruffly asked how I'd managed to get on the plane. I was tired, I was stressed and so, to lighten the moment said that I'd walked up the stairs like everybody else. Oops!
Sitting in a holding pen with a dozen or so disreputable fellow passengers, they took away my licence and my phone (but didn't ask for the unlock PIN) and left me there for 30 minutes or so as we were eyed up by new arrivals walking past.
The clerk returned and gave me my things saying I could go but should have gone to Madrid and obtained a new passport from the Embassy there"
Welcome back to the UK.
I’ve been to Belgium using (inadvertently) my wife’s passport. It passed both the airline boarding process and Belgian immigration. Getting home wasn’t so easy.

(adds: my wife is significantly better looking than I, but we have the same date of birth. She took a while to find, but at least I’ve never forgotten her birthday!)
 
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TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
As told elsewhere here but . . . lost my UK passport and (worse still) my Ingles Credential late on the night before my early morning flight home from SdC.
Decided to chance it as I had scans of my passport and my UK/EU driving licence on me.
EasyJet couldn't have been more sympathetic and one of their staff went to Spanish Border Control with me. Border Control couldn't have been more helpful either, they looked at my driving licence and waved me through.
When it was time to board the plane the EJ lady reappeared and made sure I got on.
At Gatwick however . . . I explained what had happened to a surly Immigration Clerk who gruffly asked how I'd managed to get on the plane. I was tired, I was stressed and so, to lighten the moment said that I'd walked up the stairs like everybody else. Oops!
Sitting in a holding pen with a dozen or so disreputable fellow passengers, they took away my licence and my phone (but didn't ask for the unlock PIN) and left me there for 30 minutes or so as we were eyed up by new arrivals walking past.
The clerk returned and gave me my things saying I could go but should have gone to Madrid and obtained a new passport from the Embassy there"
Welcome back to the UK.
There is no tyranny like petty bureaucrats, and borders sometimes have the worst. I’ve had “abuse” entering Canada and the UK for no apparent reason, just a bad day for some downtrodden soul and a jet lagged passenger with no recourse. And then in Saudi Arabia I was pulled into to holding pen for two hours while they scrolled through cassettes (yes, old timer) of US college football games I was taking to our employees in the hinterland. No real problem, just missed a connection and got to watch a roustabout argue about why he couldn’t take Playboy and Hustler in. The border agent finally told him to take it if he wanted to, but if caught with it he would not like the result. He left it.
Sorry, way off topic here, but humor grows over time.
 

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