Be prepared for queues at Balearic airports. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

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Never mind UK visitors to the Balearics being required to have their passport stamped on entering and leaving Schengen countries, such as Spain, without a visa to show that their stay hasn’t exceeded their 90-day visa-free limit, it now appears that thousands are worrying about their holidays because they have not got a passport.

It has been revealed that more than 550,000 passports were still waiting to be dealt with at the end of June.

It is still taking around 10 weeks to process 10% (around 55,000) of applications instead of the standard three weeks and this is leaving thousand of Britons who are planning on heading to the Balearics this year in limbo.

There are several reasons for the ongoing Passport Office delays, with the main being the huge surge in demand given so many expired during the pandemic between 2020 and 2021.

With thousands failing to check their passports due to the lack of ability to travel abroad, many realised their documents had expired.

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And Britons are now subject to non-EU passport rules, and should be valid for at least three months after the end of your travel date.

This means that even more passport renewals are having to be processed, causing further backlogs in the process.

What is more, Spanish authorities had agreed to let British holidaymakers use e-Gates at the busiest airports at peak times to reduce queues during the peak season. These included Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Girona, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Menorca, Valencia, Fuerteventura, Seville and Tenerife Sur.

But National Police officers, that control borders at Spanish airports, have insisted they must still manually stamp travel documents - even if e-Gates are used. The controversial U-turn comes as new rules are announced stating tourists may have to present more paperwork at the border in Spain.

This includes proof of a return flight, enough money for their trip and proof of accommodation for their stay.

Spain, like other European countries, has also been hit by strikes and airport staff shortages which have forced airlines to cancel and delay flights, causing chaos for thousands of tourists.