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Is Your Passport About to Expire? These Countries Don’t Have the 6-Month Validity Rule

Remember that passport renewals can take up to 18 weeks.

After no-travel 2020, planes are again whizzing in the skies. The U.S. State Department is currently overwhelmed with passport requests, so you may have to wait up to 18 weeks to get it renewed. Not an ideal situation, so the first thing to do when you plan international travel is check your passport validity and the destination’s entry requirements. Many countries need it to be valid for six months from your date of entry or valid for six months after your departure. If your travel book is expiring earlier than that, you may be denied boarding. 

Ideally, it’s recommended to travel with a six-month passport validity to avoid hiccups with airlines and immigration, but if that’s not possible, here’s a list of countries that don’t have the six-month validity rule for travelers. There are other requirements that keep changing, so don’t forget to check the U.S. State Department and embassy websites for details.

Note: The pandemic is still a reality around the world. Look up case loads and vaccination rates before planning your trip and consider traveling after getting your jab(s) to protect yourself and your community.

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PHOTO: Gianfranco Vivi/Shutterstock
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Mexico

Passport Requirement: Must be valid at the time of entry and must have one blank page per stamp.

The U.S.-Mexico land border is still closed, but you can fly to Mexico with a passport that’s valid at the time of entry. You don’t need a COVID test to enter and there’s no need to get a visa if you’re going for less than 180 days. The travel advisory reminds U.S. citizens to reconsider travel due to COVID-19.

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PHOTO: Hans Pfaff/NWT Tourism
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Canada

Passport Requirement: Must be valid at the time of entry and must have one blank page.

In August, Canada opened its borders for fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. Americans don’t need a visa for stays less than 180 days and the passport needs to be valid at the time of entry. The country is at Level 3: Reconsider Travel warning right now.

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Barbados

Passport Requirement: Must be valid at the time of entry and must have one blank page.

The Caribbean country is open to U.S. travelers. You can stay visa-free for up to six months and only need your passport to be valid at the time of entry, with one blank page for a stamp. But it is another country with Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory and has requirements for testing and quarantine (check here).

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PHOTO: John Spur
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The United Kingdom

Passport Requirement: Must be valid for the duration of your stay and must have at least one blank page.

American passport holders don’t need a visa to travel to the U.K. if your stay is less than six months and your passport needs to be valid for the duration of your stay. However, the U.K. currently has a Level 4: Do Not Travel warning from the state department due to the rising cases of coronavirus and there may be restrictions on non-essential travel. Check requirements to visit different regions here.

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PHOTO: Chris Hill Photographic
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Ireland

Passport Requirement: Must be valid for the duration of your stay and must have at least one blank page.

U.S. citizens can enter Ireland without a visa for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days. You only need to have your passport valid for the duration of the stay and at least one blank page for entry. Borders are open for American citizens and fully vaccinated travelers don’t need to quarantine, but the country is on Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory.

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PHOTO: mountainpix/Shutterstock
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Croatia

Passport Requirement: Must be valid for three months after the planned date of departure and one blank page is required.

Although a European country, Croatia is not part of the Schengen area. It’s on Level 3: Reconsider Travel warning right now due to COVID-19. But the good news is that you don’t need a visa to enter (if your stay is less than 90 days) and only need three months’ passport validity after the planned departure.

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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Armenia

Passport Requirement: Must be valid at the time of entry and departure.

If you’re staying in Armenia for less than 180 days, then you don’t need a visa. Your passport needs to be valid at the time of entry and departure. However, if the flights are through the Schengen region, then your passport needs to be valid for at least three months beyond your departure date. Armenia is also at Level 3: Reconsider Travel warning, but U.S. citizens are allowed to enter.

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PHOTO: BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock
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The Bahamas

Passport Requirement: Must be valid at the time of entry and must have two blank pages for entry stamp.

The Bahamas is at Level 4 travel advisory, but the country is open to U.S. travelers. There’s no visa required and passports need to be valid at the time of entry, with two blank pages needed for stamping.

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PHOTO: Nikolais / Dreamstime.com
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The Seychelles

Passport Requirement: Must be valid for the duration of stay and must have one blank page.

The Seychelles is visa-free and you get a visitor’s permit if you can show a return ticket, confirmed accommodation, and sufficient funds for the duration of stay. It’s on Level 4 advisory, but it’s open to U.S. citizens. Your passport should be valid for the duration of your stay and have one blank page.

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PHOTO: FredP/Shutterstock
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The Schengen Region

Passport Requirement: Must be valid for at least three months after your date of departure, but six months’ validity is recommended.

The Schengen Agreement is important for travelers eyeing Europe because it gives a three-month entry visa to American travelers. 

The 26 Schengen Countries who have signed this agreement are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Some of these require you to have a passport valid for three months after your departure. However, many countries/airlines assume that you will stay for a full three months, so you will need a six months’ validity to visit.

Switzerland and Greece, for example, have a six-month requirement, while France and Germany have a three-month validity requirement. Check each country’s information before you commit to your travel plans. To be on the safe side, follow the six months’ advice by the State department.

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