Passport Expiration Rules You Need to Know About

There are various passport expiration rules that you need to be aware of before you travel abroad. Some of these stipulations relate to when you can replace your expired passport and which countries you can visit if your document is nearing its expiration. If your passport is approaching the end of its lifespan, you should review these rules. It is important that you have a solid understanding of these circumstances and how they can affect your travel plans.

Passport requirements relating to document renewals are established by the United States. Conversely, foreign governments are responsible for deciding how long your passport needs to be valid before you can enter the country. The following sections explain these different passport rules that you need to be aware of before you travel. If you do not fully understand these requirements, you risk not being able to go abroad.

Can I travel abroad if I have an expired passport?

Travelers cannot go abroad if their passport validation has expired. In fact, it is necessary that individuals have passport validity for travel to other countries. Without current documents that verify travelers’ identities, foreign governments are unlikely to let them into their countries. Furthermore, travelers should not expect to be able to board a plane or cruise ship without current passports.

What do I do if my passport expired?

If you have an expired passport and you plan on going abroad, you need to obtain a new travel document. Generally, you can use Form DS 82 U.S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals to complete this task. If you use this form, you must mail it in once you are finished. However, keep in mind that you may only request a passport renewal through the Department of State if you meet the following requirements:

  • The federal government issued your current passport less than 15 years ago.
  • You received your current passport after you turned 16.
  • You have not lost or severely damaged your passport.
  • Your current passport is in your possession and has not been stolen.
  • Your name is the same as the one that is printed on your current passport, or you have legal proof to document your name change.

If any of these circumstances do not apply to you, you may not submit a US passport renewal form. Instead, you need to apply for a new passport using federal form DS 11. Keep in mind that regardless of the form you use, you need to pay an application fee. However, if you use DS-11, you also need to pay acceptance fee.

Passport Validity for Travel Rules

It is important that you know your passport expiry date before you go abroad. Some countries maintain a six-month rule regarding when your document is scheduled to expire. This means that your passport must be valid for at least six months from when you enter the country. If you are wondering which countries require six months of passport validity, you can find this information by contacting the federal government. However, remember that many European countries maintain this rule. Examples of popular tourist destinations that enforce this six-month rule include:

  • Denmark.
  • France.
  • Germany.
  • Italy.
  • Poland.
  • Spain.