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Brexit: Britons panic after ‘scam’ text urging passport renewal - did you get one?

PASSPORT renewal has sparked panic after HM Passport Office sent texts to Britons urging them to check their passport validity before Brexit - with many people believing they were being subjected to a scam.

Passport renewal is a hot topic of concern as the Brexit date looms next month. Britons have been alarmed after they received messages claiming to be from HM Passport Office. The texts encouraged the receiver to check if their passport was valid and to renew their all-important travel document if needs be. While the texts have been confirmed as official by the government, many Britons were afraid they were being scammed.

Brexit news: Passport Office texts Britons to check document - but many think it’s a scam

Those who received the texts took to social media to share their concern about the potential scam.

“Any fellow Brits received a text from the passport office that they might urgently need a new passport to travel to the EU in event of no-deal Brexit? What fresh lunacy is this?” one person posted on Twitter.

Another tweeted: “Has everyone else just received a text from HM Govt passport office telling us to renew our passports in case we want to travel to Europe? Complete madness. Project Fear? No, Project Lunacy!”

However, HM Passport Office has confirmed the texts were completely official.

The office replied to one concerned Twitter user: “Yes, this is an official text message.

“As the rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the European Union with no deal, we have introduced this SMS communication to advise them to check their passport.”

Brexit: Britons panic after ‘scam’ text urging passport renewal - did you get one?
Brexit news: Passport Office texts Britons to check document - but many think it’s a scam (Image: Getty Images)

A Home Office spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We are running a live digital campaign, including Facebook and Instagram advertising, which encourages passport holders to check the validity of their passport using the online checker.

“Reminders are routinely sent to customers as passports approach the end of their validity period. However the Government is accelerating no deal preparations to ensure the country is prepared for every eventuality, and recent text messages have supported our efforts to increase awareness and avoid disruption for passport holders in this event. We will continue to issue these to customers as their passports near expiry.”

Should the UK quit the European Union without a deal, .

These six months need to be left on your passport on the date of your arrival to an EU country.

The document rule applies to both adult and child passports, said the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Brexit news: HM Passport Office has confirmed the texts were completely official (Image: Twitter/HM Passport Office)

Brexit news: Those who received the texts took to social media to share their concern about the scam (Image: Twitter/@MatthewWasley)

The FCO also stated: “If you renewed a passport before it expired, up to nine extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date.

“Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the six months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.”

This means, if you renew your passport before it has actually expired, you no longer get an extra nine months added on there as you did before.

In short, if you had plans for a summer holiday and your passport has 15 months or less left on it, you’ll need to start renewing.

The new rules will apply for .

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