How to Make Sure Your Passport is Valid for Travel to All Countries

How to check your passport validity before you travel

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One of my clients called me in a panic a couple of years ago. She was worried she was going to be detained at the airport, or not allowed to leave the country at all. She was in the United States for a two-month visit, from The Gambia. This was by no means her first time, but this visit was very different from all her others because of one thing; her passport expiration date.

Her passport was due to expire on May 22, 2018. She arrived in the states on September 18, 2017, and was due to leave December 4, 2017.

Yes, you saw those dates correctly. Her passport wasn’t due to expire for another five months after her departure date!

So, what’s going on, you might be asking?

How to check your passport validity before you travel

Well, some countries require travelers to have a minimum of six months validity on their passports, from the departure date of their visit.

So if your passport is due to expire, let’s say, three months after the date you’re scheduled to leave the country you’re visiting, you won’t be able to go. Yikes!

Believe me, you don’t want to be caught unawares, so, here’s how to check if you should be concerned about this rule.

A Great Resource

How to Make Sure Your Passport is Valid for Travel

The U.S. Department of State is a very helpful site to check for all things international travel-related. You can use this amazing resource to check to see which countries have the six-month (or longer) rule for passports, as some countries have different validity timeframes.

USA, Canada, and Great Britain don’t have this rule but sometimes quote it if the passenger may be going through another country. since that might affect their travel plans.

A country like Belgium, for example, has a three-month validity rule, Kenya a six-month rule. However, Gambia does not have any such restrictions. So, it depends on the country, and on your layovers.

My client is now back home safe and sound, but I did encounter many travelers who were not so fortunate. Folks expecting to travel had to reschedule their flights and some missed important meetings and events because, they too, had no idea about this passport rule.


Don’t let this affect your travel plans!

Check your passport validity and country requirements on the site before you go, and just to be on the safe side, make sure that passport has plenty of juice left in it! If you use a travel agent, they should, ideally, check this for you.

Remember this ideally should be at least 6 months from the day you plan to depart the country you’re visiting. It’s probably best to do this no matter where you’re going to ensure you get there, and on time.

If you need more information or need to update your U.S. passport, you can do that here,

Check out this post for more travel tips and hacks

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