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I know someone who is a US and Irish dual citizen, travelling from Ireland to Spain (by Ryanair), on a US passport because his Irish one is expired. His US passport is expiring a few days after his return flight.

Will he be stopped from travelling? The requirement to have a passport valid for 3 months after return does not usually apply to EU citizens, but does it apply to EU dual citizens travelling on their non-EU passport?

If so, how likely is he to actually be stopped (how strictly is this enforced)? At what point could he be stopped?

There isn't time to renew the Irish passport. Is there anything he can do?

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    Google ‘Ryanair refused boarding’ and you’ll find a myriad of reports. The airline is notorious for (amongst many things) making errors in interpreting rules relating to passports. I wouldn’t count on them being sufficiently knowledgeable to understand the rules surrounding your friend’s situation, I would count on them to be inflexible
    – Traveller
    May 18 at 6:35
  • airlines are very strict about this because to my knowledge if you are refused at the border, they have to get you back. I once went to the USA with my sons passport extended (as I discovered it had run out) and phrases like "I've never, ever seen anything like this before" occured. May 20 at 14:18

4 Answers 4

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Ryanair has a very strict document check before they would even let your friend board the plane. I would very much assume them to recognize that the US passport is not valid long enough and not let him/her fly. There is no reason to expect that Ryanair nor the Spanish immigration police will accept an expired Irish passport as proof for Irish citizenship.

Since the passport office in Dublin offers an urgent appointment service with same day renewal, it is hard to believe that there is no time to renew the Irish passport. I would guess that is the only way to be able to travel.

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    There is reason to expect Spanish immigration police to accept the expired Irish passport (namely article 5 paragraph 4 of directive 2004/38/EC), but Ryanair is a different story.
    – phoog
    May 17 at 21:19
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    @phoog The article you refer to states that union citizens should, if they do not have the necessary travel documents when trying to enter a member state, have the right to obtain these documents or have them brought to them within a reasonable period of time or to prove by other means their right of free movement (which in this case is based on the Irish citizenship). How is that relevant in this case? OP's friend will not be able to produce oir have him brought valid travel documents. May 17 at 21:27
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    @phoog How would an expired passport prove that the holder is an Irish citizen and not merely used to be one? If I renounce my current citizenship, I would still have several expired passports. May 17 at 21:36
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    @phoog I would assume that most EU states issue some kind of citizenship certificate and a current one may fall into 'other means'. I can't find any case although I tried to search, but I am also pretty sure that there are precedence rulings from the CJEU that immigration officers are entitled to operate with a very narrow interpretation of the article you are referring to if a person just because of ignorance or negligence choose to seek entry without proper travel documents. May 17 at 22:04
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    @JBentley No, it does not, since your non-expired passport will be revoked and withdrawn if you renounce your citizenship. May 20 at 18:57
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You say that his US passport is expiring a few days after his return flight, so he won't be able to travel with his US passport on Ryanair, and of course not with his expired EU passport either.

From Ryanair's General Terms and conditions :

2.1 Photo ID needed for travelling abroad

2.1.1 A valid passport

2.1.1.3 All non-EU passport holders travelling into a Schengen member country must make sure that their passport is valid for at least three months from the date they will leave the Schengen member country, unless the person has a Schengen-issued residence permit or long-term visa.

It goes without saying that an expired passport is not a valid passport. Also, note that Ireland is EU, but not Schengen.

However, he would be able to travel with an Irish Passport Card, provided he has a valid one:

2.1.3 An Irish Passport Card (only for Irish citizens travelling within the European Union and the European Economic Area)

.. which is unlikely, as a passport card is valid for 5 years or until your passport book expires, whichever period is shorter. It can be assumed that if his Irish passport is expired, his Irish passport card is expired too.

Also, interestingly, you ask:

The requirement to have a passport valid for 3 months after return does not usually apply to EU citizens, but does it apply to EU dual citizens travelling on their non-EU passport?

Apart from the fact that your friend would be unable to prove that he still is an EU citizen, considering that his EU passport is expired, hence invalid, once you choose to travel on a passport, you travel on that passport and as a citizen of that country. Generally speaking, you can't mix and match to circumvent requirements and limitations.

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    "once you choose to travel on a passport, you travel on that passport and as a citizen of that country. Generally speaking, you can't mix and match to circumvent requirements and limitations." no, you're travelling as an individual and if you happen to be a EU dual citizen, you can enter using a US passport, and the requirement to leave doesn't apply to you. If you get asked about it, simply provide proof of your EU citizenship.
    – JakeDot
    May 18 at 16:41
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    @JakeDot that's true, but RyanAir would be entirely justified in applying the 3-month rule given that the proof of EU nationality is expired unless they had specific assurance from the immigration officials at the destination airport that the traveler would be exempted from the rule by virtue of the expired EU passport.
    – phoog
    May 18 at 19:41
  • @JakeDot that's right; my answer is entirely focused on Ryanair's position regarding the matter, considering the OP's request, not immigration in general. If he can somehow get to Spain, once he is inside Spain, he can use his EU privileges. The point is that he can't reach Spain with Ryanair, given the premise.
    – magma
    May 19 at 8:18
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Irish passports online renewals are very fast atm. Mine came in days rather than weeks/months. Unlikely to beat the evil barstewards at Ryanair. I have to travel with them next month (lack of alternatives), but I normally go out of my way, literally, to avoid travelling with them.

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There isn't time to renew the Irish passport. Is there anything he can do?

If there truly isn't time to renew the passport, even taking into account the urgent passport service, and assuming that the traveler doesn't have an Irish passport card, there are three options:

  1. Give up on the trip; rebook if possible or write off the tickets if it isn't possible, or

  2. Try to fly with the valid US passport and the expired Irish passport, recognizing that failure is likely, as outlined in Tor-Einar Jarnbjo's answer.

  3. Modify your itinerary to enter the Schengen area by rail. The existence of preclearance in the UK means that the rail company does not enforce passport requirements, so all you need to do is to convince the French border guards there to admit you.

If the only alternative is to lose the value of the tickets, and if the traveler is very persuasive, there might be a small chance of getting through. I wouldn't count on it, though.

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    As a last-minute alternative OP could also go to the Schengen area via the Eurostar, where they can present themselves directly to French border officials. At this point EU directives kick in and there's a very high chance they'd be allowed to enter.
    – JonathanReez
    May 18 at 19:28
  • @JonathanReez thanks, I've edited the answer. (Do ferry companies check passports as airlines do?)
    – phoog
    May 18 at 19:45
  • They usually do, although its more lax than when traveling by air. And Schengen immigration will be on the other side of the ferry.
    – JonathanReez
    May 18 at 20:15
  • @phoog. In my experience on the Irish Sea, the ferry companies themselves never check passports. There is sometimes immigration in Dublin and Holyhead, and sometimes there's no one there at all and you can just walk through.
    – TRiG
    May 19 at 8:34
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    @TRiG "on the Irish sea," meaning ferries between the UK and Ireland? We're talking about ferries between either of those countries and the Schengen area.
    – phoog
    May 19 at 8:38

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