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Entry to Netherlands

Hello, I will be traveling from Philadelphia to Detroit to Amsterdam. I will be arriving at Schiphol Airport this Friday, January 5th, and leaving from Schiphol on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018. The trip was planned last minute, and did not have time to renew my passport. While I've read that it is recommended that your passport should have six months remaining on a passport, based on the departure date for the Schengen countries. Yet, I have also read that the requirement for The Netherlands is at least three months left on a passport expiration based on departure date. My passport expires on May 8th, 2018, which is more than three months, but not quite four months. Should I be concerned about not being allowed entry to he Netherlands? Thank-You, Tom

Posted by
228 posts

A few years ago I had the same situation with less than 6 months before expiration of my passport . I had no problem at Schiphol .

Posted by
16883 posts

You are within the letter of the law. The issue is that some screening agents, such as airline personnel, can be overzealous in the application. They may assume you'll stay 3 months (and need a passport valid 3 months after that assumed departure date from the Schengen visa area) even though your return ticket says you're staying 4 days. Do have your return flight info handy at all stages.

It probably is not necessary, and I'm not sure that I would bother, but if you want an "emergency" renewal of your passport, you could make an appointment at the Philadelphia passport office.

Posted by
5777 posts

I would call the airline you are travelling on and ask them. I can guarantee that the Immigration officers at Schipol will not be a problem, because the Airline will never let that happen. If they do, then they fly you home at their expense and incur a hefty fine. The question then is, will the airline let you board? Only they know that answer.

Posted by
4 posts

All replies were helpful, Thank-You!
My thinking was in line with everybody's. Mostly, I did not feel like standing in 15 degree weather in a line wrapped around the US Customs house in Philadelphia today. You have all put my mind at ease. Thanks, Tom

Posted by
47 posts

I agree with Paul. It is a good idea to call your airline (I assume that is Delta since your flight is from Detroit).

Delta’s website states, “In general, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the period of intended stay in a foreign country.”

The State Department advises the same thing: “A passport must be valid for at least six months beyond planned date of departure from the Schengen area.”

Generally it is best to start thinking about renewing a passport while not travelling and when it has seven or eight months before it expires. This way you get a new one with a fresh ten years of validity and not have to worry.

Posted by
16883 posts

For future reference, part of the problem as Greg highlighted it is that even the US State Dept. states it differently on different pages of their web site. The link that I posted earlier has this more nuanced description (emphasis mine):

Entry into any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen area for short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination, requires that your passport be valid for *at least three months** beyond your intended date of departure. Because many Schengen countries assume all travelers will stay the full three months allowed for visa-free visitors, we recommend that U.S. citizens have at least six month’s validity remaining on your passport whenever you travel abroad.*

Posted by
3487 posts

Your biggest issue will be the airline that takes you there. They don't want to get fined for allowing a passenger to fly that might be rejected entry at the destination so they tend to be overly restrictive. Last year I was refused by Lufthansa because my passport had 5 months and 29 days before expiration flying to Munich. They were very apologetic and even rebooked me on a future flight at no charge to me allowing me to get an emergency passport replacement.