How Close to Expiration Should you Renew your Passport?

Fort Lauderdale AirportThe Confusion

Fort Lauderdale airport is our home airport and flies to 61 international destinations. You never want to book a trip and be told by an airline that your passport is no longer valid, especially when you have as much as 6 months left. Some countries issue 5-year passports and child US passports are the same, while adult US passports are for 10 years. Renewing your passport is a long and expensive process. You don’t want to do it too soon, but you don’t want to wait too long and risk not being able to travel. So what are the rules?

Certain countries will let you travel with your passport as long as it doesn’t expire before your trip ends. Other countries have let travelers in even when their passports expire the next day. And while countries are free to make their own rules, airlines can and usually do enforce stricter policies. Airlines are actually liable and face huge fines if they allow passengers to fly with non-compliant passports or visas to a foreign country so many of them will not accept perfectly valid passports due to the risk for them.


Returning Home

Almost all countries will allow their citizens to return home on a passport that expired while they were traveling. If your passport was lost on your travels your home country may be able to issue you an emergency passport or issue an extension. The common idea that you can’t travel with your passport if it has 6 months left before it expires is a fallacy. There is no tried and true rule regarding that and if you are planning on traveling internationally you will want to contact your airline directly. Ask them before you book your ticket or within 24 hours in case you need to reschedule.


Two Notable Exceptions

There are two countries that have complex rules regarding passports, Singapore and Turkey. Singapore requires that your passport does not expire until six months after your arrival. Why? There’s not really an answer for it, but it’s a rule they enforce. Turkey is just as confusing and for the most part it appears that they require a passport be valid for 5 months after your arrival date including two months of validity after your departure. This is the most complex requirement we’ve come across.


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