Hi, We want to travel to England in August 2013. Our passports expire mid January 2014. I have heard that if your passport is set to expire within 6 months of travel to Europe, you should get a new one. Do you think we will be ok going to England with the set to expire in January 2014 passports? If not, here's my quandary. We will be in Turkey late May to early June 2013. Obviously we need the passports in our possession until we get home from Turkey in early June so we can't apply for new passports until we get back from Turkey. Would we have enough time to renew our passports before travelling to England in August? Will the budget cuts/sequester affect the turnaround time for new passports? Thanks. Mary

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
4498 posts

You can always pony up the extra money for expedited service.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

We just renewed two passports. Each took right at three weeks. The United Kingdom only requires that your passport be valid for the duration of your visit. Much of this three-month business is urban myth for other nations as well.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1954 posts

Where did you " hear" that you can't travel if your passport is set to expire in six months? Was that advice specific to Europe and from a reliable source? I have yet to see documentation that a country in Europe won't let you in if your passport is expiring six months later. People will tell you to renew it before you go"just in case" but I have not seen a good explanation of what " Just in case" means. As for the sequestration affecting time for passport renewal, I don't think anyone knows yet. But unless someone gives you a good reason to renew before your August trip, You need not worry about it.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
808 posts

Most of the Schengen countries only require 3 months - as posted the UK requires it be valid through the travel dates. The 6 month rule applies to many Asian nation, etcs - China, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar

Posted by Brian
Los Angeles, California
1986 posts

you could always renew your passports now- beforw you go to Turkey???

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

'Most of the Schengen countries only require 3 months' France, Germany, Italy, and Spain only require a valid passport. I don't know about the rest off the top of my head. To the best of my knowledge, there is no universal Schengen passport expiry regulation and I've entered the Zone from just about any place possible, often with only minimal time remaining on my passport. 'The 6 month rule applies to many Asian nation, etcs - China, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar' China and Laos only require six months remaining on the passport at time of visa application. China will give a multiple entry visa and let you enter and leave as long as the passport is valid. Indonesia is exactly the same as China. Laos requires that the one-time entry be within two months of visa approval and that the stay must not exceed one month, thus you only need three months of passport left when leaving. Japan and South Korea require only a valid passport. Those are also just off the top of my head. Note, the general pattern is that nations that require a non-border visa may require an amount of passport remaining at visa issuance, not at entry or departure. The lesson is to never, never, never trust a third-party source (including/especially State). Get the scoop from the embassies.

Posted by Mary
Reno, NV, USA
214 posts

Hi, Actually in RS 2013 Great Britain guidebook (see Passports page 9)it says "You may be denied entry into certain European countries if your passpost is due to expire within 3 to 6 months of your ticketed date of return. Get it renewed if you'll be cutting it close." I figured this was a reliable source but as I don't always believe everything I read, I thought I would check this board.

Posted by Nicholas
Seattle, Washington, United States
282 posts

Have no fear. You have options. 1) You could do expedited service, which will take 2-3 weeks (currently). It costs a little extra, but you cut the renewal time in half and give yourself a buffer before leaving. 2) If worse comes to worse, you can get a passport within a week. Here's how: You will have to schedule an appointment with the San Francisco Passport Agency and travel to SFO (all passport holders need to be present to renew their passports this way). You can only schedule an appointment within two weeks of an international flight. After the appointment, the passport is usually issued within 24 hours and available for pick up the next day. I believe that everyone must be there in person with all of the usual proof of citizenship requirements. If you are renewing passports for children, there may be additional requirements. 3) Also, just for information for people, you can have two valid US passports in a couple of situations. The first is if you have pressing international travel and your main passport is being processed for a visa by a foreign government. The second is if a visa from one country would complicate entry into another. For example, if you plan on traveling to Israel and then to Iran, you could get a second passport.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Guidebooks: worstest source of official scoop.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6116 posts

So which embassy would we contact for the actual information? We fly to London from the US, spend a few days, they fly to Berlin and from there travel by train through Germany to Italy, where we will spend a month. I will have more than 3 months left on my pass pert when we depart Italy,but people keep telling me I should renew my passport "just in case." In case of what? If I want to contact embassies to confirm I will be OK, which ones do I contact? UK, Germany, and Italy?

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Why not check all three - - 'just in case'? Each nation's embassy web site is very accurate. Unlike State's or the commercial/travel sites that copy State. What most people don't realize is that the State Department has no authority to determine entry regulations for othe rations. I've no idea why they don't reflect the information accurately, or if they're just full of dumb clerks, or they pad things 'just in case' in a big brother-like manner.