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undergrace Jul 14th, 2014 07:53 PM

Teaching Abroad with Expiring Passport
I have a question that I'm having trouble finding the answer to through Google, so I hoped someone here could help me.

My husband and I are US citizens. We are looking at teaching abroad for the 2015-16 school year (no idea which country yet, since we won't know which jobs are available until the end of 2014). I understand most introductory contracts are for 2 years, so I assume the visas would be for that time period as well. Is this correct?

We have one big problem though. My passport expires in early May 2016, right at the tail-end of the first year of being overseas. Would I need to renew my passport in the summer of 2015 before we even go abroad in the first place? Or can I renew it (before it expires, of course) while over there? I have read that it is possible to have a valid visa in an expired passport AND a new passport, but I don't know the logistics of how that works for our situation. Also, my new passport will need to have my married name in it (we were married 2 years ago but I decided to wait until it expires and renew with the name change) so my old one and new one would not have the same name :(

We were hoping to do some traveling next summer before heading abroad so I would like to keep my passport as long as possible.

Thank you for your help!

doug_stallings Jul 14th, 2014 08:13 PM

You can renew a year before your passport expires, or indeed while you are overseas. The country in which you work, however, will dictate whether or not this is acceptable or if your passport must be valid for the entire time of your contract. These laws vary.

MmePerdu Jul 14th, 2014 08:34 PM

For purposes of travel to additional countries, if you need visas, it isn't unusual for countries to require 6 months validity to issue the visa. I had a similar dilemma not long ago and just opted to renew the passport in advance of the need for visas. It's a logical solution and leaves you more wiggle room in your plans.

thursdaysd Jul 15th, 2014 05:37 AM

You can renew your passport at any time, you don't have to wait. I would simplify your life and do it now.

foggybridges Jul 15th, 2014 08:34 AM

Just renew now, it will make your life a lot easier.

suze Jul 15th, 2014 10:42 AM

I thought you could renew your passport anytime? (not that you had to wait for "a year before your passport expires" per the first answer).

MmePerdu Jul 15th, 2014 10:57 AM

I don't know if there is a rule about timing and renewing. However, I do know if you "lose" your passport you can get a new one anytime. A friend needed to lose an exit date stamp (pre-computerized) from a country once so he lost the passport.

thursdaysd Jul 15th, 2014 01:58 PM

As I posted, you can renew any time. I renewed the last time after only four years, as I wanted a passport without an RFID chip for as long as possible.

Hobbert Jul 16th, 2014 12:52 PM

You can renew it at a US embassy while abroad but I'd just renew now and take care of the name change.

undergrace Jul 16th, 2014 05:49 PM

Thanks everyone. Looks like I didn't really emphasize that I want to keep my current one as long as possible. It's about 80% filled and if we visit Africa this summer as hoped then it will have all of the continents (minus Antarctica). My hope is to get it as close to full as possible! I'd really like a little more time with it before renewing. I know to most people it's just a book but it's one of my most prized possessions because of its history and sentimental value.

My thought is to use it until June (we have 2 trips planned this winter) and then renew while getting the visa. I just don't know if most teaching assignments need your passport info for paperwork long before the actual visa is issued. What it the normal timeline for that process?

Thanks again!

thursdaysd Jul 16th, 2014 06:43 PM

You do know that you get your passport back? I have quite a collection. The time it takes to process a visa depends on where you're going. You will certainly need the passport to get the visa, you CANNOT renew it "while getting the visa"!

MmePerdu Jul 16th, 2014 06:44 PM

My approach is, yes, the old passport has sentimental value and I even impressed myself sometimes with how full it was, including added pages. However, when deciding whether I could squeak by with just a very few empty pages or whether I just didn't want to think about the possibility of running out of room and time, I chose the latter and got a new one. It was actually quite liberating psychologically, I could change plans on a whim, indulge in thoughts about possible detours where a whole page might be needed for a visa and god knows what.

There is no up side to running out of space in your passport or running out of time when you have to get both passport renewed and visas in a time frame known only to the issuer. I'm beginning to get the idea that you'd made your decision before you asked the question. I think you should do whatever you want to do, no snarkiness intended.

undergrace Jul 16th, 2014 07:51 PM

I'm sorry if I'm coming across as difficult. I would LIKE to keep using it through June, but if it doesn't seem possible then I will accept that and renew earlier after taking these final few trips. I was hoping for some guidance about if it was even possible to coordinate renewing and getting a visa in such a short time, and it seems like most of the answers indicate it won't be. I'm also aware the government returns them but I've heard a few friends say they never received theirs so I'm nervous about that. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. Thank you to everyone who answered this thread!

MmePerdu Jul 16th, 2014 08:20 PM

"...if it was even possible to coordinate renewing and getting a visa in such a short time..."

It is possible. The problem is the variables over which you have no control. Consequently it makes no sense (to me) to try to push the envelope, given it isn't necessary to do it. Visas sometimes arrive quickly, sometimes they don't, etc. Can you imagine how you'll feel (panicked) if it doesn't go as you'd imagined?

You don't sound difficult, just inexperienced. Either it'll work out or it won't.

doug_stallings Jul 17th, 2014 06:24 AM

For those of you looking to renew your passport, here's all the info in a recent article from

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