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US Passport Question

The US State Department states that your passport must be good for 3 months beyond your scheduled date of departure. But it also recommends 6 months because Iceland is part of the Schengen zone. I am going to Iceland in October and my passport expires about 5 days under the recommended 6 months.

Has anyone had problems with this? I would normally just get it renewed to be safe but I have recently moved to a loft which then changed its property address so I've got two change of addresses floating out there and am having problems receiving mail.

Any insight would be great - thanks!!


Posted by
8889 posts

What the US state department says is not authoritative. It isn't them who make the rules. And they have other errors in their website (it says "3 months" instead of "90 days" at one point).

The rules are common for the whole of the Schengen Area (no difference for Iceland) and are set by the EU.
The rules are here on the EU website:

If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport:
- valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting,
- which was issued within the previous 10 years,

So you are legal.

The first person who checks your passport is not Icelandic immigration, it is the airline check-in. Some travel agents say 6 months because you can stay up to 90 days (90 days + 3 months = nearly 6 months). As long as you have a flight booked back, a properly trained airline check-in person will not query it.

Posted by
4777 posts

Many threads on this topic in the past, there will be many replies that quote from websites, urges to contact the Icelandic Embassy, but I say forget all of that.

If you have tickets already, contact the airline you are flying. The issue is not if a border agent will let you in, it is if the Airline will let you board. You are probably OK, just check with them.

Posted by
3083 posts

This was 15 years ago, but I headed from Denver to Sofia, Bulgaria on British Airways, with a plane change in London. I thought I was clever, coming back home with about 2 weeks left on my passport, thinking I was squeezing about every possible day out of it! The BA check-in agent in Denver said nothing, letting me on the plane to London, with no indication something would be wrong. After an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn close to Heathrow, I headed to the terminal to check in for my flight to Bulgaria. That’s where they wouldn’t let me on the plane, because I didn’t have a 3-month window left on the passport. The next flight to Sofia was in 4 days, and so I had an unexpected 4 day vacation in England, part of which was spent scrambling to get a new passport issued at the American Embassy in London. If you have the time before your Iceland trip to get a passport renewal to be safe, the peace of mind sounds like it would be worth renewing now.

As for your mail issues, check with your local Postmaster. They should check with their USPS District Address Management Systems (AMS) office to ensure that they accurately have your old and new addresses correctly listed in their address database, and with the District Computerized Forwarding System (CFS) office to ensure they have your mail-forwarding orders correctly reflected. That should ensure that your mail is all forwarded to the current mailing address.