Passport Expiration Date: What are the Rules to Travel?
In a simple world, you’d be able to travel and stay abroad until you reach your passport expiration date.
But this isn’t a simple world.
You could be refused entry to a country even if your passport is valid and will still be valid by the end of your stay. That’s because a non-expired passport is not synonymous with passport validity.
So before getting ready with our travel packing checklist, you might want to look at your passport expiration date carefully and check the passport expiration rules of the country you’re heading to.
This guide contains everything you need to know about the validity of your precious travel document, including:
- Where to find the expiration date of your passport
- How to know if you can travel, considering this date of expiry
- When you should apply for passport renewal
How to Check Your Passport Expiration Date
Where is the expiry date on a passport?
Finding the expiration date on a passport is usually straightforward. It’s located on the data page, which is the first page of most passports.
On this page, you will also see the traveller’s picture, personal details such as nationality and date of birth.
More importantly in this situation, this page contains the date of issue and the date of expiration of your passport. It should be located on the bottom-right corner, next to the photograph.
As a rule of thumb, a passport is no longer valid 10 or 15 years after it was issued. BUT keep reading to know why you should take your passport expiration date with a grain of salt.
Can I check my passport expiration online?
This kind of personal service is not available in every country. You should check your country’s passport website to know if you can check your passport expiration date online.
However, to do so, you’ll need your passport number, which is indicated… on your passport. If you have your passport with you, there’s no need to check its expiration date online, since it’s already indicated on the first page!
The only reasons why you’d want to check this online is if this particular information has for some reason become illisible on the page or if you’ve lost your passport. In both cases, the validity of your passport is compromised and you must renew your passport ASAP.
Passport Expiration Rules: How Close to Passport Expiration Can I Travel?
As mentioned several times already, there is more to passport expiration than the date indicated on your passport. Each country has their own passport expiration rules and entry requirements.
What is the Six Months Rule for passports?
Perhaps the most common of those rules is the “Six Months Rules”, named so because the countries that enforce this rule require that your passport be valid 6 months past your travel date.
Why is that?
Well, passport expiration date is not the only thing that authorities take into account when considering your right to entry in their country: they also look at the duration of your stay.
Most countries let you stay for up to 3 months without a visa. That’s why they require at least 3 months validity on your passport past your departure date.
But a few countries, including in Europe, have expanded the passport validity requirement to 6 months. Those include:
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Costa Rica
- Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Czech Republic
- Ecuador (including Galápagos Islands)
- French Polynesia
- Papua New Guinea
- St. Lucia
- Timor-Leste (East Timor)
- Trinidad & Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
Can you travel with a passport that expires in 2 months?
It depends where you’re travelling to and from, but in general, it’s best to have a buffer of at least 6 months.
That being said, if you forgot to pay attention to the soon expiration of your passport, you may still have a chance to be allowed in the country if you have proof of your return date. For example, if you booked a return flight, it would help to show the immigration agent that you are indeed planning on leaving the country before your passport expires.
Similarly, if you can prove that you already have a booked appointment to renew your passport, they may let you in.
Can you travel with an expired passport?
If you’re travelling internationally, not a chance. A soon-to-expire passport is already going to put your trip in jeopardy - an expired one offers virtually no chance of safe departure.
Follow the guidelines formulated by the Department of State and local authorities in your country of destination to renew your passport before your trip, whether it is expired or about to.
You do NOT want to leave the decision to let you in up to border control.
Can you book a flight with an expired passport?
Yes, because the airline doesn’t request a passport at the time of booking.
However, you’ll hit a wall when you have to check-in for your flight: whether you’re checking in online or at the airport, for international travel, the airline will request your passport details, including its expiration date.
Should your passport be expired, you won’t even be able to check-in. Don’t even think about lying about it: you’d only be postponing the inevitable and be denied boarding at the airport. And you won’t get a denied boarding compensation for that.
By the way, you won’t be allowed on a domestic flight with an expired passport either. Once it’s expired, the travel document is invalid.
Bottom line: you can’t take the plane with an expired passport. You need a new passport.
Passport Expiration Renewal: How Close to Expiration Can a Passport be Renewed?
As a rule of thumb, valid passports should be renewed about 8 months prior to expiration.
Why? Because it takes on average 2 months for passport applications to be processed. Since you want to always have a 6 months buffer to travel with some peace of mind (see Six Months Rule above), consider starting the passport renewal process 8 months before your passport expires.
What to do if I realize that my passport is about to expire at the last minute?
It depends on exactly how late this realization occurs. Most national authorities enable passport holders to renew their travel document fast by setting up emergency procedures for this kind of situation.
As you might expect, it will cost you more than the regular replacement of your passport.
How to renew an expired passport?
We have a step-by-step guide on precisely how to renew an expired passport.
You can do so either online, by mail, or in person. Our guide provides information on all these options, as well as the documents you’ll need to provide, including a valid passport photo.
Note that this is also valid if you’ve lost your passport.
What to do with your expired passport?
Even after receiving your new, valid passport, you want to be careful with that old, expired one.
First, know that even expired, your passport may serve as a proof of citizenship in most countries.
Then, and perhaps most importantly, your old passport may still contain valid visas. If that’s a case, when travelling, make sure that you carry both the valid passport and the expired one with this visa stamp.
Now, if your old expired passport no longer holds any value, don’t simply go ahead and put it in the trash. To dispose of your passport, shred or burn it first. This will prevent ill-intentioned people from making fraudulent use of it.
Passport Valid Check: How long is a passport valid?
How long is a passport valid in the US?
In the US, adult passports are valid for 10 years starting from the date of delivery, while a child passport expires after 5 years.
How long is a passport valid in the UK?
Similarly to the US, UK passports are valid for a period of 10 years if you were aged 16 or more at the time of delivery, and only 5 years if you were 15 or less.
Is my passport valid after Brexit?
UK passport holders will still be able to travel to Europe despite the No Deal Brexit. At least until the end of 2020, they’ll be allowed to use the “EU passport” lines at border control. However, UK passports must be valid during the entirety of their trip.
After the end of the year, Brits will need to conform with the Six Months Rule that is enforced in the Schengen Area countries, just like all other non-EU countries.
On the bright side, flight compensation rules after Brexit should remain the same.
How long is a passport valid in each country?
Below, you will find an extensive list of countries and how long a passport is valid for them.
One more thing to keep in mind, though: when travelling to specific destinations, not only should your passport not be expired or have at least six months before it does; it should also have several blank pages. That’s to allow for a visa to be printed.
So make sure that you have enough free pages to accommodate a stamp from the entry and exit immigration.
Passport validity in Africa
ALGERIA: 10 years
BENIN: 6 years
EGYPT: 7 years
ERITREA: 5 years
ETHIOPIA: 5 years
GHANA: 10 years
KENYA: 10 years
LIBYA: 10 years
MOROCCO: 5 years
NAMIBIA: 5 years
SENEGAL: 5 years
SOUTH AFRICA: 10 years
SUDAN: 5 years
TANZANIA: 10 years
TOGOLESE: 5 years
TUNISIA: 5 years
UGANDA: 10 years
Passport validity in Asia
AFGHANISTAN: 5 years
ARMENIA: 10 years
AZERBAIJAN: 10 years
BAHRAIN: 10 years
BANGLADESH: 10 years
BRUNEI: 5 years
CAMBODIA: 10 years
CHINA: 10 years
CYPRUS: 10 years
HONG KONG: 10 years
INDIA: 10 years
INDONESIA: 5 years
IRAN: 5 years
IRAQ: 8 years
ISRAEL: 5 or 10 years
JAPAN: 5 or 10 years
KAZAKHSTAN: 10 years
KUWAIT: 5 or 10 years
LAOS: 10 years
LEBANON: 5 or 10 years
MACAO: 10 years
MALAYSIA: 5 years
MALDIVES: 5 years
NEPAL: 10 years
PAKISTAN: 5 or 10 years
THE PHILIPPINES: 10 years
SAUDI ARABIA: 10 years
SINGAPORE: 5 years
SOUTH KOREA: 10 years
SRI LANKA: 10 years
TAIWAN: 5 or 10 years
TUNISIA: 5 years
THAILAND: 5 years
TURKEY: 10 years
VIETNAM: 10 years
YEMENI: 6 years
Passport validity in Europe
ALBANIA: 10 years
ANDORRA: 10 years
AUSTRIA: 10 years
BELARUS: 10 years
BELGIUM: 10 years
BULGARIA: 5 or 10 years
CROATIA: 6 or 10 years
CZECH REPUBLIC: 10 years
CYPRUS: 10 years
DENMARK: 10 years
ESTONIA: 10 years
FINLAND: 5 years
FRANCE: 5 years
GERMANY: 10 years
GREECE: 5 years
GUERNSEY: 10 years
HUNGARY: 10 years
ICELAND: 10 years
IRELAND: 10 years
ITALY: 10 years
LATVIA: 10 years
LIECHTENSTEIN: 10 years
LITHUANIA: 10 years
LUXEMBOURG: 5 years
MALTA: 10 years
MOLDOVA: 10 years
NETHERLANDS: 10 years
NORTH MACEDONIA: 10 years
NORWAY: 10 years
POLAND: 10 years
PORTUGAL: 5 years
ROMANIA: 10 years
RUSSIA: 10 years
SERBIA: 10 years
SLOVAKIA: 10 years
SPAIN: 10 years
SWITZERLAND: 10 years
UKRAINE: 10 years
UNITED KINGDOM: 10 years
Passport validity in North and Central America
ANGUILLA: 10 years
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA: 10 years
BARBADOS: 10 years
CANADA: 5 or 10 years
CAYMAN ISLANDS: 10 years
COSTA RICA: 6 years
CUBA: 6 years
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: 6 or 10 years
GRENADA: 5 years
JAMAICA: 5 or 10 years
MEXICO: 1 3, 6 or 10 years
PANAMA: 5 years
ST.KITTS AND NEVIS: 10 years
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: 10 years
UNITED STATES: 10 years
Passport validity in South America
ARGENTINA: 10 years
BRAZIL: 10 years
CHILE: 5 years
COLOMBIA: 10 years
ECUADOR: 6 years
COSTA RICA: 6 years
GUYANA: 5 years
PERU: 2 or 5 years
URUGUAY: 10 years
VENEZUELA: 5 years
Passport validity in Oceania
AUSTRALIA: 10 years
NEW ZEALAND: 10 years
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: 5 years
TONGA: 10 years
TUVALUAN: 5 years