We are planning a trip to Italy and Budapest June of 2012. My childrens passports expire in August of the same year. I have heard that it is not a good idea to have passports that are about to expire. Have even heard that some countries will not let you in with a passport that will expire in the next six months. Not looking forward to a added expence of two new passports if we do not really need them. Has anyone had a problem with about to expire passports?
You really should renew them. The cost is the same whether you renew now or later. I don't there is a hard rule. Some countries require three months. Whether you get in or not is going to depend on the country and the immigration officer on duty. You not want to get there and find that there is problem with the passport. I think the reason for the 3 to 6 month requirement is that they do not want you in their country with an expired passport which could happen if there was a medical problem that delayed your departure as scheduled.
It's not worth the risk. A trip over there is going to cost you several thousand dollars, a couple hundred extra to make sure you have no passport problem is not a big deal, especially since you have a year and a half to budget and save. Spread them out a few months apart to ease the sting of the renewals, but don't take the risk, especially since you have so much time.
Ring up the Embassy in the country you are doing to to verify accurate info, they would know for sure. If there is concern, you have plenty of time to renew early.
I agree with Nigel. Unless this is going to be the last overseas trip of their lives, you're going to renew their passports eventually anyway. Why not now?
Is it really worth it to wring out the last few months of value of the old passports? Renew in the winter or spring of 2012.
It really is best to renew before hand. Arguing with immigrations or airline check-in staff is like arguing with TSA, you may be right, but they win the argument at least in the short term. Despite what each country may require, the rule of thumb seems to be that many people look to see that you have 6 months of validity left on your passport at the time of departure, or first arrival at your destination. From there, they may try to determine if it is OK to let you proceed, but you really do not need the hassle. All is avoided with an updated passport, and you have plenty of time to get that.
Won't the children need passports for the next trip?
Absolutely renew them now. I have had friends denied the right to board international flights because their passports were too close to expiring. Its a risk you don't need to take.
"I have had friends denied the right to board international flights because their passports were too close to expiring." As long as your passport meets the entry requirements of your destination country, I doubt that you can be denied boarding. Not all countries have a 6-month expiration rule. If you don't know the entry requirements of the country you're headed for, the info is usually on their embassy's website. That being said, if you're close to expiration, why not just renew.
The US State Dept website says: "a passport valid three months beyond the proposed stay." http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4361.html
The information on the State Department's site isn't 100% accurate. There are a few countries within Schengen that don't have any expiration rule: Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg. For the most accurate info check the Embassy website for where you will be traveling, or give them a call.
Thanks all. Guess we will renew
Everyone, needs to have a passport, and it really wouldn't be worth not renewing them for your children, unless you decide they are not going with you. As others have said, you wouldn't want to plan a delightful trip and spend thousands or hundreds of dollars and then arrive, and find out you can't get in, or must have a new passport and you have to return home to the USA. I have also read about most countries don't want you to have a passport to not be good for at least another 6 months from the time you arrive in Europe. Take care. and good luck. Thanks Ed, I corrected this, because, I wasn't sure about an infant, but I see rules have changed, thanks for your correction.
'except maybe for a baby' Nope, nope, and NOPE. The state department sez every human must have a passport AND it must be separate (not on parent's). One of my kids was hatched in Japan. Had to get her a passport. This in the days before fax and we didn't have a copy of the marriage license in our back pocket. Absolute mad scramble. The picture was the best part - - very useful since I can't tell one three-week old from another.
Look at it this way, it's much easier to renew in the US before you go, than to try and renew in a foreign country. One of the reasons I think it's good to travel with a soon-to-expire passport is for the worst case scenario of some type of medical incident that forces you to stay longer in a foreign country. I knew a woman who's father traveled to France and ended up hospitalized there for a month. Although rare, it can and does happen.