asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether there is any penalty for using a passport out of date, or whether it is open to any British subject living abroad to return to England with an out-of-date passport; and whether, seeing that, as it is possible for any British subject to leave England at the present time without a passport or with an old passport, the rules for renewal have practically been abrogated, the Government will immediately arrange for a public statement that these rules are no longer in force?
The possession of a passport is not necessary for leaving the United Kingdom, but British subjects proceeding abroad require valid passports in order to conform to the. Regulations of the countries they desire to visit. Failure to comply with these Regulations may involve great personal inconvenience and the probability of being refused admission. As regards the entry of British subjects into the United Kingdom a passport is not compulsory, although, as has been frequently staled, the possession of a valid passport is a great convenience, as it enables the holder to secure admission without delay. Under existing Regulations which are based on the recommendations of the Paris Conference of 1920, British passports are available for two years only. They may be renewed for four further periods of two years. The hon. Member will be aware from my reply to his question on the 5th instant that the question of extending the period of validity of British passports is under consideration.