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6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
2,313 posts
2 reviews
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.)

42 replies to this topic
British Columbia...
Destination Expert
for Regina
Level Contributor
5,399 posts
94 reviews
11. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

https:/…six-month-validity-passport-rule

There's a start, though relying on third party sites with vested interests is not the best way to do things. I've never had an issue with finding entry requirements... maybe it's different in Europe since most countries there don't have this rule?

UK
Level Contributor
9,154 posts
26 reviews
12. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

"Even if there wasn't such a rule, airlines can deny boarding."

I don't believe they can.If you have correct valid documents for the country you are visiting then airlines can't deny you boarding.

Cruise companies can impose their own rules - because they don't provide a public transport service. But airlines can't, as far as I am aware.

Edited: 3:20 am, December 07, 2017
UK
Level Contributor
9,154 posts
26 reviews
13. 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?"

There is a reliable source (which you mentioned yourself) - and that'sTimatic. Timatic does mention minimum validity requirements where they exist - I've just checked by entering a combination of Canadian national and a random Schengen country, and got this:

========================

Document Validity:

Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid for at a minimum of 3 months beyond the period of intended stay.

========================

So - if Timatic doesn't mention a minimum validity requirement then I think you can assume that none exists.

Problem solved!

London, United...
Level Contributor
11,024 posts
23 reviews
14. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

This website has worked for me n the past

https:/…

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,630 posts
292 reviews
15. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Here in the UK, there the Government travel advice website which gives you this basic advice. We're looking at travelling to India next year and the website states that your passport should have a validity of 180 days at the time of entry to India. That is 6 months. Isn't there a Finnish government site? India travel advice - GOV.UK

https://www.gov.uk › foreign-travel-advice

Different advice for different countries. Good luck. Maybe check on a Dutch government site? Good luck :)

Edited: 3:38 am, December 07, 2017
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
2,313 posts
2 reviews
16. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Wanderer: my problem was about Dutch Caribbean. The official government website which I found only after starting this thread, does not say anything about six months, quite the contrary, "Your passport must be valid for the whole of your stay". (https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/travel-and-…) but the rule still appears on many other websites (this for example bonaire-travelguide.com/entry_requirements/ and https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/caribbean/bonaire/passport-visa/)

Now that I actually found it from Nl website, it should be enough, but it still puzzles me why this six months rule is advertised everywhere.

Mukuma: thank you! I haven't found a Finnish site like that, yet.

Edited: 3:42 am, December 07, 2017
UK
Level Contributor
9,154 posts
26 reviews
17. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

#15 - I would not necessarily trust a UK site to have all the latest information about every country in the world. Apparently the US government web site is telling US citizens they need six months validity for every foreign country, which is of course complete nonsense.

The only reliable sources are (a) a government web site of the country you are visiting (make sure it IS a government web site!) and (b) Timatic.

BTW (for #15) this is what Timatic says about UK citizens travelling to India:

================

Document Validity:

Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid on arrival.

================

Suggest you check an Indian government web site to see who is right...

Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
2,313 posts
2 reviews
18. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Aviatrix: thank you for helping with this. Timatic really does show 3 months rule on Schengen. Still, for example Thailand, often mentioned as one of the 6 months countries, it says valid only for the period of staying. That's why I thought it didn't show the validity rules at all.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
33,950 posts
6 reviews
19. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

FlyingLadyFinn,

Where are you planning to travel in the coming months? Then plug that into Timatic, read the rule, take appropriate action, and problem solved for you. Simples.

Everything else is complete and unnecessary over analysis. You are not a novice on this forum. And frankly speaking I think you know this, and are therefore by continually posting you're unnecessarily creating confusion for others.

Edited: 4:13 am, December 07, 2017
Mumbai
Level Contributor
1,798 posts
41 reviews
20. Re: 6 months passport validity rule? Source?

Interestingly, USA does not seem to be following this rule – but I guess it also depends on the country of passport.

I hold an Indian passport and entered the US on Aug 26 2017 and left on Sept 12 2017. My (Indian) passport expires on Jan 18 2018 = less than 6 months after entry or exit dates. But the US rule (from their website) is that the passport should be valid for the duration of the stay – hence I had no issues at entry or exit.

From US I flew to Germany for a 2.5 week stay. Germany (may be all Schengen countries?) follows the 3 month rule – I believe this means that the passport must be valid for minimum 3 months AFTER leaving the country. I left Germany Sept 29 2017 – so once again no issues at entry or exit.

My travel plans were essentially firmed up earlier and I was aware of the above rules on passport validity – hence did not bother to renew my passport earlier. Of course, after return to my home country I got my passport renewed immediately for another 10 years.

My 2 bits – hopefully may be helpful !

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