Six Month Validity Passport Rule


If you’re planning on traveling or working in another country, be aware of the six-month validity passport rule. The rule is in effect in many countries outside of the US. The six-month validity passport rule can seriously affect your travel plans. It may even cause you to cancel your trips because the other country will not honor your passport.

What Is the Six Month Validity Passport Rule?

Many countries have adopted a rule that states that they will not accept your passport if it is due to expire less than six months from the time of your trip’s departure. Some countries allow exceptions, and a few countries that require three-month validity, but to be on the safe side it is best to make sure that your passport will not expire within six months. These rules change frequently, so it is best to check the countries’ latest travel requirements before you make travel arrangements and before you leave. For example, Mexico did not enforce the six-month validity passport rule but does so now. Right now, Canada does not enforce the six-month validity passport rule but could do so in the future.

What if I have a Visa?

If you have a visa that extends longer than your passport, you will need to have your passport renewed to cover the time that the visa encompasses. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use that visa. Even so, you will have to travel with the old passport and the renewed passport, and you will have to make certain that is acceptable to the country that issued you the visa. Otherwise, you will have to have them re-issue a visa for the passport that you renewed.

Why a Six Month Validity Passport Rule in the First Place?

While it may seem strange in the era of expedited passports, the six-month validity passport rule most likely came from when it took longer to obtain passports. Also, unforeseen problems could cause a delay in your departure, such as weather problems or illness, and could possibly delay your departure to where you would be traveling on an expired passport. To avoid these problems, these countries instituted the general six-month validity passport rule.

While this rule does seem a little odd, it’s important to realize that this is a rule in the country that you are visiting, and not required by the United States. Always check the country you’re visiting before you do so to make certain that all your paperwork is correct and you will have no unexpected problems.