Your passport expires soon. Can you travel?

Your passport expires soon. Can you travel?

Can you enter a foreign country with a passport about to expire in 4 months? It depends on the country. But, as a general rule, passports must be valid for the length of the stay, plus they have to have several more months of validity. Exact number of months varies from country to country. Some countries require passports to have a validity of at least 6 months on the date of arrival. Some — 6 months on the date of departure (the final day of travel). Other countries require passports only to be valid for the length of your stay.

These rules exist because countries don’t want travellers to overstay their visas, intentionally or not. Read on to learn more about passport validity requirements.

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Travel with expiring passport: FAQ

1. Passport validity requirements

Do you need 6 months on your passport to travel? Not always.

Passport validity requirements vary from country to country.

Schengen countries require passports to be valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave. So, if you’re planning to leave on the 1st of January, your passport expiry date should be 1st of April of the same year, or later, but not sooner. Also your passport must be less than 10 years old (on the day you plan to leave).

Not all countries require additional period of validity.

Some countries require your passport to be valid for the length of your stay. You don't need to have any additional period of validity on your passport. Such countries are: USA, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Ukraine, Japan, etc.

Here are a few more examples of passport validity requirements:

  • New Zealand — at least 3 months after the date of your departure from New Zealand
  • Brazil — at least 6 months from the date of arrival
  • Belarus — at least 3 months from the date of entry
  • Thailand — at least 6 months from the date of entry
  • Turkey — at least 6 months from the date of entry
  • China — at least 6 months from the date of entry
  • Malaysia — at least 6 months from the date of entry
  • UK — at least 6 months from the date of entry
  • Hong Kong — at least 1 month after the final day of travel
  • Singapore — at least 6 months from the date of entry
  • Morocco — at least 3 months from the date of entry

Remember, that the requirements may change.

Check the official government sites before you travel.

2. Can you travel with an expired passport?

No, not if you’re traveling internationally.

But, can I travel with an expired passport to my country? Can I at least go home? This is one of the most frequently asked questions about passport validity. And the answer is no. You should get yourself a new passport through the Embassy of your country first. In some cases it can also be a temporary permit for traveling back home, also issued by the embassy.

This leads us to the next point.

3. Could you be denied boarding because of passport validity?

Yes, you could be denied boarding.

If your passport doesn’t meet the requirements, you might be denied boarding. And you may not even make it to your boarding gate, if someone checks your passport at some point before that. This applies also to situations when you aren't entering a country, but you are only transferring through. If you have two separately booked flights (self transfer), you may have to have a valid passport (as well as a visa!) for that. Check that in advance.

And you won’t be entitled to denied boarding compensation.

If you are denied boarding because of your passport validity, you'll get no compensation. It will be seen as your fault. And if it’s your fault then the airline isn’t obliged to pay you anything.

Check the rules before you travel.

Learn more about EU denied boarding compensation.

4. What to do if your passport expires soon?

First, check the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to.

If your passport is expiring soon, but it still meets the requirements, you don’t have to renew your passport now. If it doesn’t meet the requirements, then you must renew a passport.

These rules change from time to time. That’s why it’s important to check the entry requirements at least a few weeks in advance so that you can prepare all the necessary documents for your upcoming trip — a valid passport, return ticket, proof of vaccination, etc.

If you have found out that your passport is not valid for travel only days before the trip, try to contact the passport office. In some cases, it’s possible that you can get your passport renewed in just a couple of days. It will cost extra, though. Register for passport renewal online, and also call the office, just to be sure you’ll make it in time.

Some countries offer same day passport renewal.

Find out if it’s possible in your country.

5. What to do if your passport is about to expire while you are abroad?

Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of your country.

You may need to plan it in advance. There may not be an embassy or consulate in the country you are currently staying in. You may need to travel to another country, where there is a consulate or embassy of your country, to renew the passport. If that’s your case, plan it well, because you can’t travel with expired passport.

Other requirements and things to note

Not only the validity of your passport matters, but also the looks.

Often you may be denied entry to a country if your passport is damaged or has pages missing. Some countries require that there is a full blank page for the entry and exit stamps and visas. If you have a dual citizenship, find out what are the entry requirements for dual citizens.