Understanding the 6-month validity rule?


6 Month Validity Rule Explained

When you apply for a U.S. Passport, it is issued for a certain time frame. They are valid 5 years for a child’s passport age 15 and younger and they are valid for 10 years for an adult passport age 16 years and older. Many international travelers are not aware of the little known 6-month validity rule that has been issued by most major countries. To the everyday U.S. citizen, what does this mean?

This means you must have 6 months of validity on your passport beyond your stay in a foreign country. For example, if you plan to return from your Spain trip on January 1, 2020 and your passport is set to expire on June 1, 2020 when you appear at the airport they will not let you board the plane since your passport is going to expire within 6 months of your return to the states.

The Reason Behind The 6 Month Validity Rule

The question is why is the U.S. Department of State doing this when you pay for a ten or five-year passport? The reason is they want all international travelers to renew the passport early in the unlikely case that something happens to you when you’re overseas and requires you to remain in country beyond your passport expiration date.  This enables you to have a  newly renewed passport and ensures that you would not be stuck trying to renew it at a U.S. embassy overseas. If you are in this situation overseas the embassy can only issue a limited validity passport and it can take a week or longer.

How can I find out what countries require 6 months of passport validity?

The state department’s website has a link to most major countries about what is required when going to the country and travel warnings and how much passport validity you need in your passport to make this a smooth process to the country you are traveling to.

Learn About Your Destination

Renew Your Passport Early

Our recommendation since some countries require 6 months and now some countries only require 3 months is renew your passport early. You can actually renew your passport as quickly as you want. You can even renew your passport should your physical appearance change and you want an updated photo. The main goal is not to get to the airport and be the one who has to turnaround from the airline because of this rule.

Learn About Passport Renewals