Six month passport validity requirements

Six-Month Passport Validity Rule

In August 11, 2017

Too many international travelers miss their trips because their passport is not valid, even if it’s not expired. This confusing and often overlooked rule requires that your passport be valid for 6 months after the last day of your international trip. Still confused? This means that if your passport expires within six months of your return date, you will not be allowed to enter your international destination. The reason is that foreign countries want to make sure you do not travel on an expired passport. To ensure this doesn’t happen, it’s now often required travelers have six months validity beyond the travel dates.

How do I check my passport expiration date?

Adult U.S. passports, for those ages 16 and older, are valid for 10 years from the date they are issued while minor passports, for those ages 15 and younger, are valid for 5 years from the date of issue. Border control officers have a very serious job to ensure that every traveler who enters their country is able to do so legally. In order to minimize the stress and time of this task, make sure your passport is valid before departure. Verify your expiration date by reviewing the second page of your passport book, located near your passport photo and information. You should have at least six months remaining on your passport from the return date of your trip.

Why is there the six-month validity passport rule?

This rule is not a requirement of the United States government. The six month validity rule is actually enforced by the foreign countries accepting travelers. The U.S. however, enforces a similar rule for tourists coming to America. The rule is in place to prevent travelers from traveling with an invalid passport. Foreign governments do not want travelers to have expired passports while traveling within their countries.

Are there exceptions to the six-month validity rule?

It is imperative for travelers to know the laws of their destination country. The United Kingdom is an example of a European country that does not enforce the six-month validity rule. However, the 22 European Union countries and 4 non-EU countries that agree to the Schengen Agreement, allow U.S. citizens to travel for up to 3 months without a visa, but generally still require six months of validity. This rule is subject to change so please check directly with the destination country before you go.

Some Asian countries that quite commonly enforce the six-month validity rule include the popular travel destinations of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Indonesia and Malaysia. India requires travelers’ passports to be valid for six months from the date they apply for an Indian visa.

Russia is a country that is known for enforcing the 6-month validity policy very strictly. Their rule is also that the travelers’ visa must be valid for six months from the date of exiting their country.

There are a handful of South American countries that also enforce this rule including Argentina, Paraguay, and Ecuador (which also includes the Galapagos Islands).13

Canada and Mexico are two popular countries who do not enforce the six-month rule for U.S. citizens but they may recommend travelers have at least three months of validity beyond their travel dates. Please check with their government websites for the latest information.

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