Passport nightmare,, stranded at SEATAC
January 8, 2014 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Can anybody help some Canadians fix this passport debacle? Need some help ASAP

My spouse and I spent the entire day traveling to the airport only to be told that we cannot board the plane due to his Canadian passport expiring too soon (expires in May, 5 months from now when it needs to be valid for 6... Never saw anything about this requirement in any of our preparation but that's another question). None of the passport offices we have tried to get hold of are open at this time. Is there anything we can do or anywhere we can call tonight to try and get this sorted out, or at least get the process started tonight? The lady at the counter seems to think we might be able to get this fixed and allow us to fly out tomorrow, but that seems doubtful. Returning home this evening is not an option. We are trying to travel to Nicaragua via Houston, and return January 29th flying out of San Jose, Costa Rica.
posted by wats to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Not sure where you are, but try online searches for "canada passport service," "canadian passport agency," etc., and see if you can find a private service near where you are. Private services can cost but they can also be quite efficient. If it were me I'd call them all to see if I can find someone, if not leave messages about the issue and see who gets back to you first. Good luck!
posted by carter at 7:09 PM on January 8, 2014

There's a Canadian consular office in Seattle; they're not open right now, but there's an emergency number on the site. I have been through modest travel nightmares and the Canadian embassy was very helpful.

I am almost hesitant to point it out given the stress you must be under but is on the first page of my search for 'travel to nicaragua passport requirements' and says Canadians must present a passport to visit Nicaragua, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Best of luck...
posted by kmennie at 7:11 PM on January 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

Yeah for future reference the "valid for at least 6 months" is close to a universal requirement. It's possible some countries are lax with it but I have no knowledge of people who have tried.
posted by MillMan at 7:32 PM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Are you passing through any other countries during your trip?

There is a lot of conflicting information online on the validity required for Canadian passports used to travel to Nicaragua. Many state the 6 month requirements, but there are at least some sites that mention variations on this, this one stating "Though not necessarily an official requirement of Nicaragua, Canadian citizens should assure that their passports are valid for a period of six months after their expected date of departure from Nicaragua". I couldn't find any official sources though.

For Costa Rica, it seems like the validity isn't an issue.

I'm not sure if this will help you with the airline, as I'm sure they have their set rules/guidelines to follow, but it may be worth investigating in addittion to arranging a new passport (as may be necessary).
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 7:33 PM on January 8, 2014

Apologies, for some reason I missed the SEATAC in the title ...
posted by carter at 7:34 PM on January 8, 2014

The 6 month validity rule does vary by country. I did manage to find a more official source for Nicaragua, that states the 6 month rule for almost all passports (US passports being a notable exception). There is contact information for the Nicaraguan Immigration Authority on that site, but not sure how far that will get you.

Cecic - Canadians may be able to travel to the US (and some other countries) with a shorter validity period, but that doesn't mean it won't apply to others.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 7:46 PM on January 8, 2014

I think you are SOL this evening. The "emergencies" page indicates that emergency assistance is intended for actual emergencies (war, theft, injury, etc):
posted by KokuRyu at 8:04 PM on January 8, 2014

Yeah for future reference the "valid for at least 6 months" is close to a universal requirement.

It's not a requirement for Canadians traveling to the United States, for the future reference of Canadians reading this thread, and by way of explanation for why the OP might not have run into this before.

Good luck, OP. This may be too late by this point, but if you're not having any luck with Passport Canada this morning call up your MP's constituency office and ask them to help expedite things.
posted by Dasein at 7:06 AM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

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