Travel dates in the months before passport expiration
January 13, 2008 9:12 AM   Subscribe

My U.S. passport expires 13 Oct 08 and I need to book one international trip before then: leaving New York 17 July 08, returning 2 Aug 08 (one destination country, a non-EU-member in Eastern Europe, plus stops for flight transfers in one or two EU member countries). Is it even worth researching various countries' and airlines' how-close-to-expiration-date safety ranges for travel, or should I just assume I MUST renew my passport before then?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
Yes, renew it now. Even when a country's published rules say otherwise, sometimes it can be a problem if you have less than six months of validity left on your passport.
posted by grouse at 9:20 AM on January 13, 2008

If I were you I'd just go ahead and renew your passport. It's usually a relatively painless and fast process, and the last thing you want to worry about while you're abroad is passport issues.
posted by supercrayon at 9:20 AM on January 13, 2008

Really, at this stage, you need a very, very good reason NOT to renew your passport. Why risk it?
posted by Brockles at 9:24 AM on January 13, 2008

Agree with all above. In addition, talk to the airlines you will be travelling on - they will be checking your passport before you leave and may have their own rules. Also, a teeny bit more info here
posted by johngumbo at 9:37 AM on January 13, 2008

Renew now. Some countries won't let you in if you are within 6 mo. of needing to renew. I don't think it makes sense--why have a different expiration date, but that's the way they do it.
posted by 6:1 at 9:49 AM on January 13, 2008

wow, I had no idea. I've used my passport with only weeks left on it before. But it is incredibly easy to renew a passport, so you may as well, as they last 10 years once you renew.
posted by mdn at 9:55 AM on January 13, 2008

It's easy, but last year the delays for domestic passport issues were quite long. So if you have no other international travel planned, I'd renew it now while you're thinking about it, and avoid paying an expedite fee plus stressing out over it later.
posted by grouse at 10:11 AM on January 13, 2008

Renew your passport. I was in a similar quandary some years ago, had 5 months left on my passport before a trip to NZ which has stricter passport regulations (they want at least 6 months left). So I renewed my documents right away and had a stress-free holiday.

Stress (a bit) now to renew your passport instead of stressing throughout your trip whether each new country will look at your passport askance.
posted by seawallrunner at 10:21 AM on January 13, 2008

In my experience, if you need to apply for a visa to enter a country (as opposed to countries where Americans are automatically granted a visitors visa just for showing up), then they will not accept a passport with less than 6 months left.
posted by winston at 11:34 AM on January 13, 2008

Agree with 6:1: many countries won't issue you a visa if there is less than six months to go on our passport. Just read that in the info the State Department sent me last week with my renewed passport (which, btw, took only two weeks to get to me after I mailed in the application --with no expediting). I think this is a good time to renew: after Xmas and before people realize they will need one for the summer.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 4:13 PM on January 13, 2008

yeah, i didn't expedite or anything but i got my passport renewed within 12 days, and that was at the height of the insanity. i think if you renew now, you'll be fine. besides, you won't have to bother with it for another 8 years.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:39 PM on January 13, 2008

When my passport was less than a few months until expiration, I got hassled at more than one border for no reason other than that. I was let through, but they didn't like it.
posted by about_time at 7:00 PM on January 13, 2008

I learned while checking my bags at the airport for my honeymoon that we were fine with where we were going in Europe (Germany and Czech Republic, FWIW), but that some other countries would not take it, (Netherlands and Israel are the ones I seem to remember off the top of my head). I had three or four months left on my passport at that time.

It took me three months last year to renew my passport. They did ask if I was planning a trip out of the country. I wasn't, so that may have put me on the "back burner".
posted by 6:1 at 8:38 PM on January 13, 2008

nthtastic: now's probably the best time of the year to renew a passport, and you should.
posted by holgate at 11:27 PM on January 13, 2008

Yes, I'd say you are planning a trip in March to get them to move a bit faster. I'm trying to take a trip in April and I put that on the renewal form.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 1:42 PM on January 18, 2008

Yes, I'd say you are planning a trip in March to get them to move a bit faster.

Don't do this. First, making a false statement to the federal government is a crime. Second, it's unfair to the people who really are planning trips in March to have all the liars jump the queue in front of them.
posted by grouse at 3:33 PM on January 18, 2008

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