Your Passport Expiration Date may be misleading

Our eyes might not see as clearly as they once did…so look closely at your passport expiration date long before your next planned international trip.

So your passport clearly states (looking through your readers) that it expires on December 1, 2020. But did you know that could mean July 1, 2020?  Your 10-year passport is most likely only good for 9-1/2 years.

Six month validity passport rule

Most countries require that passports have a minimum of six months of validity prior to traveling internationally. This means travelers will not be allowed into their country if the passport is set to expire six months after the last day of travel on that trip.  

Read the fine print!  While preparing for an overseas trip recently, I was aware of the rule, but not careful enough with my date calculations, missing my window of validity by just 24 hours. I made an extra trip to Atlanta’s U.S. Passport Office for an expedited renewal. Whew! That was a close one! 

The countries listed below enforce the six month rule:

  • Central America, except Panama and Honduras

  • Caribbean, except for Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago

  • South America except for Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay

  • Europe, except United Kingdom (including Canada) and Ireland

  • Asia, India, and Russia: Asian countries except for Hong Kong and Macau that use one-month validity. Russia and India also use the six-month rule

  • South Pacific: All the countries in South Pacific, except the US Territories and New Zealand

Use of the above TSA locks can help prevent your passport and valuables from being taken.

How to Renew Your Passport

  • If you need to get a passport quickly–in two weeks or less–you will need to have your passport renewal expedited and pay additional fees.

    • Call the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency. There are two options for getting an appointment:

    • For your appointment, you’ll need to provide proof of immediate travel with your name listed, an expedited fee, and the items needed to renew your passport.

  • If you will be traveling in three weeks or more, you can submit an application by mail.

Check and double check your passport dates! Wouldn’t you be miserably disappointed if you planned all those months for that trip of a lifetime and you missed it!

Disclaimer:  The above information was accurate as of September 2018.  Please check for the latest updates on specific country information before you travel.


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