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Avoid This Common Passport Mistake

Avoid This Common Passport Mistake

A couple of years ago, I was invited to attend a friend’s July wedding in his wife’s hometown in northern Italy. As the date approached, I remarked to another friend who was also planning to travel from the U.S. for the celebration that I was glad I had just renewed my passport since it was due to expire in May. She responded cheerfully that she was all set because her passport wouldn’t expire until September.

She was mistaken. My friend was not all set because Italy, as part of the Schengen Area of European countries, requires visitors to have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date they intend to depart.

Fortunately, she was able to expedite her passport renewal and make it to the wedding, but her situation highlighted a fairly common misconception about international travel.

Having A Current Passport Isn’t Always Enough

“A lot of us just think we need a valid passport to travel the world beyond our borders, but what many people don’t realize [is] that a current passport alone might not be enough,” said Katy Nastro, a spokesperson for the flight alert service Going.

Indeed, many countries require your passport to have a certain duration of validity remaining beyond the intended dates of your trip. The most common lengths are three and six months past the date you fly back to the U.S.

“A lot of countries, namely in Asia and the Middle East, require six months’ validity beyond your travel dates ― meaning if you take a trip to Vietnam in July, for example, your passport needs to be valid up until at least January,” Nastro explained. “If you arrive at the airport and try to get on your flight, some airlines won’t even let you board without this very important bit of time, in which case you run the risk of not being able to take your trip.”

Each country has a different timeline for passport validity, so international travelers need to familiarize themselves with these policies before booking a trip.

“Some may require three months, while others may require six months or even more,” said David Alwadish, the founder and CEO of the passport and visa service “When some countries also require a visa and grant a multiyear paper visa, they may require at least one year or more [of] validity.”

The specific requirement depends on a variety of factors, including the country’s immigration policies, bilateral agreements and security risk considerations.

“Therefore, it’s crucial for travelers to…

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