The 6 month validity passport rule is thought by many to apply to every and all situations in which an American travels to an international destination. Many travelers have been frightened by well-intentioned friends who informed them on the eve of their departure that their soon-to-expire passport does not have enough validity to allow them to embark. This article will seek to provide clarity to this often cited passport requirement.
Each country establishes the entry and exit requirements that visitors must meet. Possible requirements include whether or not a person must present a valid passport. Travel visas are required for many, but not all, destinations. A few locations demand immunization records and/or HIV test results. Criminal records are solicited for some locations. A certain amount of currency and proof of ongoing travel are requirements that one might be expected to provide at a port of entry.
The most commonly required travel document is a valid passport. Expired passports are not accepted. Not only that but many countries require a specific amount of validity be remaining in a passport before a travelers is allowed to enter. The 6 month validity passport rule does exist and is required by many countries such as…but it is not the only validity rule.
Many countries require only a validity of only 3 months. All the countries that are party to the Schengen agreement follow this rule. The twenty-five European countries that are part of this agreement include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
There are numerous countries outside of Europe that follow the 6 month validity passport rule. Some of the most popular destinations that have this requirement are Brazil, China, Egypt, and Vietnam. Other places that follow this rule are Burundi, Iran, Israel, Kiribati, Mauritius, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Uganda and Ukraine.
The lists above are not exhaustive. There are many other places that follow the 3 month or 6 month validity passport rule. Of course, there are also those countries like Mexico and Canada where no specific amount of validity required. Travelers can visit these locations up to the date of their passports’ expiration date. Because there is such wide diversity of regulations, it is very important that you verify the foreign entry requirements for the places you plan to visit. This will ensure that your passport’s validity is correct.
Visit U.S. Passport Service Guide for requirements, instructions and tips for expediting American passports as quickly as the same day.