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Passport renewal timing

I am leaving for a week-long trip to Sweden on June 2nd (just bought the plane tickets). My passport is valid up until September of this year (9/17/18 to be precise). So, it will certainly be valid for my trip. I have read that many countries require 6 months of additional passport validity. However, Sweden, nor Norway (which we might visit for a day), nor most European countries have this requirement.

It feels like it might be better to have this additional 6 month passport validity. International relations can change at any time and I suppose there’s no guarantee that Sweden won’t want to make travel a little more difficult for American within a couple of months.

However, I’ve also read that you should allow 8 weeks to have your passport renewed by mail and up to three weeks for expedited service. So, I worry that if I do send off my passport for renewal now, I might not actually get it back in time — or I will get it back in time, but it will be close and I’ll wind up being really stressed out about the whole thing.

So, what would you do?

  1. Renew the passport, although the chances you’ll need the additional validity are slim?
  2. Renew the passport, but run the risk of not getting it back in time and/or dealing with the stress of a close call?
Posted by
316 posts

I just renewed mine last month and got the new one in about two weeks. YMMV, of course; if you’re concerned, they offer expedited service.

Posted by
1501 posts

I think the other problem is that your airline can refuse to let you board the plane if they feel you may be refused entry. I would check the airline policy.
I would renew and pay the expedited fee.

Posted by
1224 posts

We are going in May and my husband sent his renewal mid-February and got it back in about 2.5 weeks. You need your passport to be valid 6 months after your return date, which you don't state. Get it renewed now!! The chances aren't slim, you need that additional validity. I've seen people get refused boarding at the gate because of this.

Posted by
2712 posts

Renew now, pay the expedited fee to be certain. Why take chances?

Posted by
8889 posts

The actual legal requirement, from the EU's own website is (here: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-nationals/index_en.htm ):

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,

You don't say how long your are intending to stay in Sweden, but if you stay past 17th June you will be breaking the law.
You are allowed 90 days in the Schengen Area. If you take the full 90 days, your passport needs to be valid 90days+3months from the date you enter. For this reason many airlines will not let you board if your passport has less than 6 months left.

So yes, you do need to get your passport renewed before you travel.

These rules are set by the EU, not the Swedish or Norwegian governments, because Sweden and Norway are in the Schengen Area, which only checks passports on people entering or leaving that Area. It is not likely to change short-term, unless the US government puts restrictions in for EU travellers to the USA.

Posted by
2766 posts

If you renew now, you should be fine. You can do the application on line, print it, attach a photo from Walgreen's or such and mail it in. We did this in January, and we received our passports in 14 and 11 days from mailing (they had been returned separately becasue we forgot to sign!). We live just outside Philadelphia, which is where these are done, so figure another 2 or 3 days in transit if you are not near here. No expedited processing needed.

Posted by
44 posts

Thanks for the responses. I decided to renew the passport with expedited processing & sent the package off yesterday.