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Help! Passport Emergency

My son's passport expires in 3 months. Did not think it would be an issue traveling to Italy. Last night told a friend told me it should be 6 mos. after date of travel or we will have trouble. My husband and I have valid passports. Will we be ok for a 10 day trip? Of course it's Saturday and we leave Monday. How come nobody told us this?!!!

Posted by
8906 posts

For countries in the Schengen Zone of Europe (which includes Italy), a passport needs at least 90 days of validity from your departure date back to the US.
You can plug in the exact dates of your travel and passport expiration into this site to confirm:

https://tinyurl.com/y9vcubmg

Posted by
4841 posts

Call your airline. They are the ones who will have a problem with the passport expiration. Sometimes less than six months is fine, sometimes not. If you are flying United or American, these links to there database will let you know if you are OK:
United: https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/vendors/default.aspx?i=TIMATIC

American: https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/

Delta does not have a similar link, you would need to call.

I will note that it is highly likely that there will be an issue if the passport expiration date is less than 90 days out. In that event, start looking on line for passport renewal information. It will likely mean driving to a site that can process in the same day, which will be on Monday, meaning you will need to make some changes to travel plans. If you are nice to the airline and explain the problem, they may waive change fees, if the first person wants to charge you, go up a level or two.

Posted by
248 posts

It's not an emergency yet and does not need to be.
The longer you wait to renew it the more it will end up costing in expedites.
Go to the post office and start the renewal process immediately.
Renewals are running 4 to 6 weeks and the standard expedite is 3 weeks door to door.
If you are worried about it...deal with it now.

Posted by
4 posts

Look into same day passport services, if you have all your travel documents they can give you one same day at extra fee. Done this in Los Angeles CA. Research the local passport agency.

Posted by
4 posts

Sorry for the typos, but I am on my way from Florence to Rome on the high speed train and the signal is not good.

A friend had the same issue last year flying American Airlines and was not allowed to board her flight in the US. (Her husband is a platinum member with American and they were not accommodating at all).

I am almost positive your son will not be able to board (unless he is young and there is some exclusion). My friend had to schedule a stop in a city with a passport agency (Houston or Dallas?), get a same day passport and continue on her trip, after spending $10,000+ in flight change fees and hotel cancellations and many hours on the phone. The mistake was hers, and she was travelling on an American Airlines vacation package (who had copies of her passports and did not let her know about the expiration date problem). The originating airport (San Antonio) gate agent did not follow typical procedures for helping reschedule/book a flight the next day at no charge. When she got to the next airport, that gate agent did not understand why San Antonio did not just reschedule her family on another flight without extra costs. We are still working to get some of the money back and hope that Amerian Airlines will be accommodating.

You can minimize your efforts by:
- contacting the airline ASAP
- once you confirm that he will not be allowed to board, schedule a trip to the closest/most convenient same day passport agency and get there when they open. They will issue it on the spot. Reschedule what you can with the airline and hotels. If you are lucky, you will only miss one day of your trip.
- otherwise, consider rescheduling your trip

Sorry the news is not good. It is an honest mistake made by many and the airlines typically try to get you on your way as best they can.

Posted by
6087 posts

How come nobody told us this?!!!

Just curious - who did you ask? Who was supposed to tell you?

Agree with the others, call your airline and ask them if it will be an issue, it all depends on them. It may not be an issue for a child traveling with parents who have passports not expiring. Afraid you may not be able to get same-day passport renewal on a weekend depending on where you are.

This is a good heads-up for others to check their passport expiration dates well before their departure date.

Posted by
3481 posts

My comment won’t help you, but this situation is an example of why a RS guidebook is so valuable. We get some questions on the Travel Forum of why should a person spend the money to buy a guidebook. The “Before You Go” section in the book states making sure passports have at least six months before they will expire.

I hope you’re able to resolve this Monday and still enjoy your trip!

Posted by
6087 posts

The “Before You Go” section in the book states making sure passports have at least six months before they will expire

And on this very website, under trip planning, it's the very first item on the 'before you go' checklist.

I know this doesn't help the OP, but hopefully will help some future posters.

Posted by
5010 posts

As stated above, use this link:

For countries in the Schengen Zone of Europe (which includes Italy),
a passport needs at least 90 days of validity from your departure date back to the US.
You can plug in the exact dates of your travel and passport expiration into this site to confirm:
https://tinyurl.com/y9vcubmg

then...

My son's passport expires in 3 months.

Get out a calendar and count the days v-e-r-y carefully. Double-check (and triple-check) you calculations - a lot is riding on getting this right.

Then (probably) get right on the phone to your airline immediately.

You didn't state 1) where you're located, 2) what time your flight departs.

Lets hope you live in or very near one of the cities that has a passport agency that does same-day renewals, and that your flight doesn't depart until later in the day (or you can easily switch to a same-day-but-later departure that would still get you to your destination in time to catch your tour). If both of those conditions are true then you should be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and just have a crazy departure day...

Good luck!

Posted by
23851 posts

Based on a former post it may be that kristen's family may be arriving in Rome mid-day so if we are lucky it would be a red-eye. Still don't know where they are coming from ... fingers crossed.....

Based on the time of the post I guess somewhere in EDT or CDT.

Posted by
6438 posts

How come nobody told us this?!!!

Did you fill in the passport info when you bought the airline tickets?
I always see that part and fill it in but not sure airlines check that before authoizing to sell a ticket

Posted by
84 posts

I had the same concern flying to Vienna, with my passport expiring in 5 months. I had no issue last week. And that is 5 months FROM my return date to the US.
The Austrian embassy website has 3 months, but people posted here the airlines can make a decision, up to the 6 months.

Posted by
4152 posts

The airlines will sell you a ticket regardless of when you passport expires. It's not their responsibility to notify you if your passport is about to expire and they have no way of knowing if you have already put in for a renewal. I bought tickets in November for a January trip and realized my passport was due to be renewed. No problems booking tickets, no problems renewing my passport.

Donna

Posted by
835 posts

I believe the reason for the six months validity thing is, if a traveller overstays their nominated return date, it is still important that they have a current, not expired, identity document.

No airline will load a passenger travelling on an expired passport. So the six months is some sort of insurance.

Posted by
835 posts

For the OP, who asks how come nobody told them of this.
I am not sure whose job it was to provide this info without being asked.

Posted by
8889 posts

but the passport requirements for Italy as per the state department website are

Lisa, That is because the US State Department is irrelevant, it is not them setting or enforcing these rules, it is the EU. Would you consult an Italian government website about laws in the USA?

The EU official website page is here: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-nationals/index_en.htm
And says:

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,

But, if you are flying into the Schengen Area, there is always the risk that the airline check-in person may misconstrue the rules and refuse to let you on board.

"How come nobody told us this?!!!" - when you make an airline booking, it ALWAYS says it is your responsibility to check and comply with passport and visa requirements, the airline is not liable.

As far as the Kristen's son is concerned, 3 months is not enough, unless he has an EU passport.

Posted by
6439 posts

Based on an earlier post by OP, the son is 12 yrs old. No chance he will get a 'baby in arms' dispensation

Sadly this trip just got a lot more costly than OP had planned.

OP definitely needs to contact the airline to reschedule the departure if unable to get passport in time and prevent the return flights being cancelled because they failed to show up for the outbound flights

Posted by
8889 posts

Joe, there is no "'baby in arms' dispensation". Even new born babies need a passport.
It's been that way ever since they stopped allowing wives and children to be on passports. Everybody must have their own passport.

Posted by
1160 posts

"How come nobody told us this?!!!" - Many years ago, I was in an Italian opera singers' management office, the manager had just received a desperate call from a Spanish opera house, they were in desperate need of replacing a soprano tomorrow, and she offered a young lady, needy to establish her career. She then phoned the lady, telling she was booked from tomorrow in Spain, the agent would be fixing the travel details and call again in an hour. After 15 minutes the lady called back, telling she had her ID card expire, so she could not exit Italy - this was well before the Schengen agreement; EU nationals can travel on ID cards, if their nations issue them, without the need of a passport.

Well, the agent told the lady very clearly that she was expected to behave like a responsible individual. The agent was screaming at the phone so loud that my ear was hurting. :-)

Posted by
6439 posts

Joe, there is no "'baby in arms' dispensation". Even new born babies need a passport.

Should have known the fact my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek could not been seen by the readers of my post.
Mea Culpa---- ( was just trying to make the point OP had NO chance of "sweet talking" her way around a deficient passport)

Posted by
18 posts

Ok, guys--thanks for chiming in. Just letting you all know it looks like we are within the 90 day window for passport expiration and are going through with our trip. While I feel stupid for not knowing this (because in my mind my son's passport was still valid until Sept. so I had not been concerned with this particular matter), I consider it a valuable lesson for all of us. Despite the fact that I'm sure the book mentions the 6-mo. thing (and I would have taken care of it had I known), we are not frequent travelers and never dreamed that a passport would "expire" before the expiration date. It's nonsensical in a way. However, I do appreciate the savvy responses, particularly the url for entering dates of travel on United, those of you who took the time to copy and paste from various government websites, etc... We consider ourselves lucky that we made the 90 day window for the particular country we are going to. Relief all around. You guys are the best.

Posted by
281 posts

Good thing for you ! If it was me I would still be worried until we are boarded on the plane ! The government page still says 6 months.....

Other subject , when school is over in the US ? Im a teacher in Montreal and june is the wirts time to travel since its final exam time. A kid who make a leisure travel at that time would fail is exam.

Posted by
3838 posts

bucephale - I always (used to) get so confused when my American facebook friends are posting now about their kids finishing school! Of course, school isn't over here until the 3rd week of June (And usually graduations are last week of June). But a lot of the kids down there also go back to school mid-Aug, whereas here, it's not until Sept...

Posted by
6439 posts

Hopefully OP will post a happy report on Tuesday from Italy.

Posted by
8 posts

I just wanted to add the experience one of the women who went to Italy with us last September. For our trip, we were flying in and out of Switzerland (train to/from Italy). In Switzerland, the passport should be at least 90 days beyond the day of departure.

Her passport was set to expire in mid-November, a month and a half after we would return from vacation, so she did not think it would be an issue. She was not aware of the passport validity window. When she arrived at the airport, she was denied boarding. She had to have her flight re-booked, make overnight arrangements (she wasn't from the Chicago area), and get a new passport the next day.

It all worked out and she was able to join us in Italy the next day. However, it was an ordeal and very stressful at the time. It was a hard lesson learned, but everything else worked out and it was a great trip beyond that.

Sounds like the OP's son's passport is within the valid window and hoping they have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
248 posts

I apologize for not realizing that the OP was traveling so soon. My previous reply was wrong.
If anyone is ever faced with a situation like this, the best and fasted "fix" is a passport/visa service in NY or San Fransisco. I've had my PP turned in two days (with a visa)...it was very expensive and required a flight to NYC. It is important to notify the airline in such a case and to have a back-up travel plan (alternative flights).
The rule of thumb for travel is that you should renew at least 6 months before expiration... ideally without imminent travel.
With Passports valid for 10 years, it's really easy to overlook.
Also be very aware of the expiration dates of your visa's. Having a valid passport and an expired visa can also cause you major hassle. I know someone that flew all the way to India without a current visa. He was isolated at immigration and put on the first return flight....
Hopefully the OP is having a spritz and enjoying the Italian scenery.