Six Months Passport Validity Rule

UPDATED: January 20th, 2015: Mexico now requires that your passport have at least 6 months of validity. Please refer to The US Dept of State website for additional information on individual country entry and exit requirements.

six month passport validity rule

Every traveler must have a passport when traveling overseas. Adults, children, and even infants must have a valid passport. Adult passports (16 and older) for U.S. citizens are valid for ten years, while minor passports (15 and younger) for U.S. citizens are valid for 5 years. There are additional passport requirements though, and they differ from nation to nation. Be sure to check the entry and exit requirements for each country you plan to travel.

 

Six Months Passport Validity Rule Explained

Most countries require that visitors have a valid passport (and many times, a visa as well). A valid passport is often times not enough. You must also have at least 6 months validity from the departure date of your trip. For example, if you are planning to travel to Argentina or China in May, your passport must be valid at least six months after you plan on being home again.  That could mean a few weeks abroad and your passport needs to be valid until December for a trip ending in June. There are a few countries that require only three months passport validity, which is mostly the European nations in the Schengen Zone.

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6 Months Passport Validity Rule Exceptions

Some countries are more relaxed about the 6 month passport validity rule. Canada and Mexico are the two most commonly traveled countries that do not enforce a six month validity for your passport. Again, please be sure to check with each countries entry and exit travel requirements before you go.

UPDATED: January 20th, 2015: Mexico now requires that your passport have at least 6 months of validity. Please refer to The US Dept of State website for additional information on individual country entry and exit requirements.

Why the six months passport validity rule?

fastportIt is not a requirement of the U.S. government, but rather the requirements of other countries accepting foreign tourists. Usually countries have the six month passport validity rule in place because they do not want to risk having travelers and tourists overstaying their passport validity. While six months is a long stretch of time, it has slowly become the de facto rule for many countries. Most visitors to the United States are also now required to have six months validity of their passports. All in all, there isn’t a clear reason why countries have this rule, but ultimately one must abide by them.

 

Visas and the 6 Months Passport Validity Rule

Visas may sometimes be issued for longer than a passport is valid. In this situation, you will need to get a passport renewal. You may be able to travel with the renewed passport and the old passport with the visa. We recommend contacting the country that issued the visa to find out if they will re-issue the visa for your renewed passport.

Acceptable Passport Photos

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 3.21.17 PMIf you need to renew your passport so you meet the six month passport validity requirement, make sure you have acceptable passport photos. This is one of the most common delays for passport processing.

List of Countries that Require 6 Months Passport Validity

As the requirements for each country can change at any time, we recommend contacting the country embassy or consulate directly. You can also check the U.S. State Department website.

    • Albania
    • Angola
    • Bahrain
    • Belize
    • Bolivia
    • Botswana
    • Brazil
    • Brunei
    • Burma (Myanmar)
    • Burundi
    • China
    • Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
    • Ecuador (including Galápagos Islands)
    • French Polynesia
    • Guyana
    • Honduras
    • Indonesia
    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Israel*
    • Kenya
    • Kiribati
    • Laos
    • Madagascar
    • Malaysia
    • Mauritius
    • Micronesia**
    • Mozambique
    • Namibia
    • New Caledonia
    • Nicaragua (currently waived by bilateral agreement)
    • Oman
    • Palau
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Philippines
    • Russian Federation
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Singapore
    • Taiwan
    • Tajikistan
    • Tanzania
    • Thailand
    • Timor-Leste (East Timor)
    • Turkey
    • Turkmenistan
    • Uganda
    • Ukraine
    • Venezuela
    • Vietnam
    • Zambia

*Some airlines that fly to Israel may require six months validity on your passport. Check with your airline first if you have less than 6 months passport validity.

**Micronesia requires US passport holders to have four months passport validity.

 

Albania Madagascar Angola Malaysia Bahamas Mauritius Bahrain Mozambique Belize Namibia Bolivia New Caledonia Botswana Nicaragua Brazil Oman Brunei Palau Burma (Myanmar) Papua New Guinea Burundi Philippines China Saudi Arabia Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Singapore Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands St. Lucia French Polynesia Taiwan Guyana Tajikistan Honduras Tanzania Indonesia Thailand Iran Timor-Leste (East Timor) Iraq Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica Turkmenistan Kenya Uganda Kiribati Ukraine Kenya Venezuela Kiribati Vietnam Laos Zambia – See more at:
Albania Madagascar Angola Malaysia Bahamas Mauritius Bahrain Mozambique Belize Namibia Bolivia New Caledonia Botswana Nicaragua Brazil Oman Brunei Palau Burma (Myanmar) Papua New Guinea Burundi Philippines China Saudi Arabia Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Singapore Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands St. Lucia French Polynesia Taiwan Guyana Tajikistan Honduras Tanzania Indonesia Thailand Iran Timor-Leste (East Timor) Iraq Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica Turkmenistan Kenya Uganda Kiribati Ukraine Kenya Venezuela Kiribati Vietnam Laos Zambia – See more at:
Albania Madagascar Angola Malaysia Bahamas Mauritius Bahrain Mozambique Belize Namibia Bolivia New Caledonia Botswana Nicaragua Brazil Oman Brunei Palau Burma (Myanmar) Papua New Guinea Burundi Philippines China Saudi Arabia Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Singapore Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands St. Lucia French Polynesia Taiwan Guyana Tajikistan Honduras Tanzania Indonesia Thailand Iran Timor-Leste (East Timor) Iraq Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica Turkmenistan Kenya Uganda Kiribati Ukraine Kenya Venezuela Kiribati Vietnam Laos Zambia – See more at:
Albania Madagascar Angola Malaysia Bahamas Mauritius Bahrain Mozambique Belize Namibia Bolivia New Caledonia Botswana Nicaragua Brazil Oman Brunei Palau Burma (Myanmar) Papua New Guinea Burundi Philippines China Saudi Arabia Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Singapore Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands St. Lucia French Polynesia Taiwan Guyana Tajikistan Honduras Tanzania Indonesia Thailand Iran Timor-Leste (East Timor) Iraq Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica Turkmenistan Kenya Uganda Kiribati Ukraine Kenya Venezuela Kiribati Vietnam Laos Zambia – See more at:
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