Sunday, June 28, 2009

Does Your Passport Expire Too Soon?

You’re booked for that trip of a lifetime, have made sure that your passport is still valid and you’re ready to travel. Right? Perhaps not!

A passport is required for U.S. citizens to fly into another country, is one of the few documents allowed to prove citizenship when driving into Mexico or Canada, and is mandatory for some of the cruises departing from the U.S.

In many cases, it’s not good enough to have a passport valid only through the last day of your trip.

In fact, some countries will deny admittance if your passport is not valid for a specific minimum amount of time past your expected departure from their country. For instance, some online research turned up that Costa Rica requires a passport be valid for at least 30 days past your arrival, the Philippines requires validity for at least six months and Germany requires it to be good for at least three months past the expected end of your trip. Six months is the longest I've ever seen.

The reason behind this requirement is for you to have a valid proof of citizenship in case you are delayed in their country. Most often a delay is because someone opts to extend their trip, gets sick or injured and is hospitalized, or gets detained because of a legal issue.

Who is responsible for advising you of this requirement? I’ve never heard of an airline offering the information. Online blogs and message boards may not offer current or accurate information. Travel agents will typically research this, but ultimately it’s up to you--- the traveler--- to know.

The best source is the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting. Google the country name along with consulate and embassy to obtain contact information. Another terrific source, but not responsible for accuracy of another country’s requirements is our own State Department which you can find at There’s a ton of helpful information on the site. Another great spot, but again not the definitive answer on passport expiration date requirements is the World Travel Guide at

A good rule of thumb is that your passport be valid for at least six months past your trip. Do that and you'll not have to worry.


  1. fkarwan@hotmail.comJanuary 7, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    It is 16 months before my passport expires but i want to apply for a 2 years UK visa to be issued to me. Can the Visa period be more than passport validity period?

    I cannot renew my passport before until there is only six months left according to our embassy.

    Any advice?

  2. With handling vacation travel, we don't get involved in the kind of lengthy trip that gives us the experience to answer your question. I would suggest talking the the UK authorities and also ask one or two of the visa services such as Zierer (


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