Some countries require passport be valid for 3-6 months from start of trip
I was recently in the Atlanta airport, headed for a flight to Tel Aviv, when I noticed something odd: a young man and his 3- or 4-year-old daughter were taken aside and asked to stand behind the security perimeter.
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Were they carrying too many toys? Was there something wrong with their tickets? Did they fail the security screening? Could they possibly be terrorists?
None of the above. This gentleman, who was traveling from California to Israel for an important family gathering, had failed to check his passport. The passport hadn’t expired. In fact, it wouldn’t expire for five months and 22 days. But that wasn’t good enough. Like several other countries, Israel will not permit travelers to enter the country unless their passports will remain valid for at least six months after their scheduled departure.
This young father didn’t know the rules. Both he and his daughter were denied boarding, and they had to spend three days in Atlanta getting new documents. The airline kindly waived the customary change fee for rebooking their flights and upgraded them to business class. But, sadly, they missed their family gathering.
What to know about special expiration rules
It’s true: Some countries require that your U.S. passport be valid not only for the duration of your visit, but also for three to six months after your entry or return from their country. This means you have to check your passport expiration date carefully. For example, if your passport expires on March 1, 2007, and you want to travel this coming November, you may need to renew your passport before you go.
Here is a list of some countries that have special passport expiration rules.
- Brazil, Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands), Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Paraguay, Romania, Singapore: six months.
- Cambodia, Denmark (including Greenland), Fiji, Switzerland: three months (Denmark applies its three-month rule to your stay in any of 15 European countries).