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6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Helsinki, Finland
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6 months passport validity rule? Source?

My passport is still valid for a few months and I travel so much I hate to "throw away" months of it by ordering a new one before it's actually necessary (ours are only valid for 5 years and annoyingly expensive). So I started googling..

I keep seeing the rule "passport must be valid for six months after the travel" on different websites aimed at tourists but when I try to verify the rule by searching government websites or Timatic (with different country combinations), nada! I get that it's just a recommendation most of the time, but this drives me nuts! Could anyone point me to a reliable source on the matter? Does anyone know why Timatic doesn't alert on passport validity times if they actually are enforced? Any experience on how airlines generally act on this? I've always thought they just follow Timatic rules?

Thank you!

(Our next trip when this problem actualizes will most likely be two weeks in the Dutch Caribbean, with Finnish passport. I know someone is going to ask.)

37 replies to this topic
Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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1. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Some countries do insist on 6 months validity so some airlines default to that as it's simpler than checking each country / passport combination.

Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

I can't see any validity in your "complaint" or point. What is it?

You must have the correct documentation to enter and transit foreign countries. That's called *Obeying the Law*. Period. If that requires X months validity on a passport then so be it. It's **your responsibility** to hold that documentation and renew your passport accordingly.

The airlines (via Timatic, an IATA database) provide guidance. And yes the airlines comply with the Law of the destination/transit country by denying boarding to those not eligible. What else would you expect?

If your passport is close to the X months validity restriction on a country you plan to visit, then renew. You have NO excuses if you fail to do so and get dinged at check in.

I renewed my (US) passport exactly on the (nominal) 6 month before expiry. I "lost" a whopping $5 in "lost validity". Big Deal.

Edited: 07 December 2017, 01:58
Helsinki, Finland
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3. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

AFAIK I wasn't complaining, especially not about legality/ procedures! I'm sorry if my post came across that way.

I am slightly frustrated that I can't seem to find reliable sources on this issue, is it an existing/ enforced rule or not? I will of course renew the passport if it's actually required. But I can't verify if it is.

W Yorkshire
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4. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Many countries require that your passport be valid for 6 months after exit.

I would hazard a guess that this is to ensure that if you are unexpectedly delayed on exit for illness for example, them your passport won't have expired causing further complications.

Helsinki, Finland
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5. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

This article makes it look like the airlines really don't know the rules either. independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/pas…

So I better just renew the passport..

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

"I am slightly frustrated that I can't seem to find reliable sources on this issue, is it an existing/ enforced rule or not?"

========

LadyFinn, you need to take ownership of this issue. You know that some countries have validity requirements. Check them. And if your passport expiry is running close to those countries' requirements, then renew.

And yes, Timatic is very reliable and the airlines abide by Timatic's guidance.

I'm surprised your country only has passports valid for 5 years. Normally it's 10 years. So this is a once every 10 (or 5) year issue.

It's not an everyday occurrence.

Helsinki, Finland
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7. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Dear UsBT. I was kindly asking where I can find the rules or alternatively, people's experiences on the issue. You're lecturing me with a very condescending tone about your passport expenses. I'm sorry, but I'm not interested.

Timatic, which I usually check first, doesn't notify about the passport validity at all even if you say that it will expire in a month. Most government immigration websites talk about visas but not about passport validity. That was my problem. It gets very difficult to find these rules.

Luzon, Philippines
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for Philippines, Bandar Seri Begawan
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8. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

It also depends where you want to go. For Hong Kong there's only a 1-month passport validity rule. For Philippines certain nationalities are exempted from the 6-month passport validity rule.

Golden, Canada
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9. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

About 1,910,000 results (0.50 seconds).

Enjoy.

The reason there is no one answer is because it varies from country to country.

Really just look up the info for the country you are visiting. There's a reason you see it all over. Odds are you will have an issue at immigration and/or the airline if you don't meet the requirements. As you've noticed many employees don't know the answer either so you can run into denied boarding even when you technically meet the requirements. If you're pushed for time you may miss a flight getting this info checked and the decision corrected. Worth the hassle? Nope.

Helsinki, Finland
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10. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Wanderer: yeah, that's what I figured in the end. Even if there wasn't such a rule, airlines can deny boarding. Not worth it even if they had to pay compensation afterwards. But it is a bit crazy.

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