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Passport Validity for Upcoming Trip to Germany

I was reading similar postings that have me concerned. My wife and I are traveling to Germany in late November and retirning December 7th. Our passports expire in January and February of next year.

I had not heard of any requirement for passport to be valid for 3 months or more beyond the return date of our vacation. I called the German Consulate and spoke with a Sabine on Friday who advised that there is a 6 month rule but not to worry because it is rarely enforced for tourists. Yet the German Consulate web page did not seem to validate this three month rule.

I don't want to travel there and be disppointed tat we cannot get beyond passport control. I was also going to check with our airline (USAirways) for their guidance. What are the facts and where can I go for information since we are only a couple of weeks away.

Thanks & Regards,


Posted by
864 posts

This is a gray area. You could get a jerk at customs or (as is usually the case) a great person. Still, I wouldn't risk it. The rule of thumb is indeed SIX months. I applied for an expedited passport and got it back in a week. My husband (applied at the same time) hasn't gotten his yet (but still it's only been 10 days. If you have a confirmed airline ticket for within 2 weeks you can go to the nearest Federal passport office and get one pretty much in real time. See Rick Steve's travel info for details on how to get an appointment (make sure you like making phone calls in the wee hours!)

Posted by
8946 posts

According to the German Consulate's US website there is no expiration rule anymore. Your passport simply needs to be valid for the duration of your stay. You can check it out here:
Print out the page and take it with you in case you anyone gives you a hassle. In 2006 I traveled to Germany with just 2 months of validity left and the Immigration officers didn't say anything when I entered and exited the country.

Posted by
683 posts

These passport laws are more for the political showmanship than anything else. We were in Europe for 5.5 months in 2006 and never encountered a bit of trouble despite being more than 90 days in Schengen countries. That said you might encounter sbdy having a bad day- much like TSA folk in US airports- who will cause you grief. Generally however Europe is far more reasonable and measured in its responses to technical vioolations such as this. In the US you might be scooped up as a terrorist taken to a secret prison and tortured!!Then again maybe not

Posted by
3 posts

It has been an interesting couple of days of research and I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot of misinformation out there. The German National Tourist office advised I would have no problem as long as my passport was valid during my travel. However, Mr. Fargo who is in charge of the Passport/ VISA Section of the German Consulate in NY advised that the regulation stated that the passport must be valid for 90 days beyond your return.

While he didn't think it would pose a problem, his advie was to seek a renewal since I was aware of the problem in advance. As a result, I will be using CIBT to exepdite my passport renewal by November 21st for an additional $88 per passport above and beyond the normal renewal fees.

Amazing to me that the German National Tourist Board is ignorant of their own regulation. I received similar misinformation from USAirways and my AmEx Travel Service as well. This experience has taught me to be self-sufficien and rely on myself.


Posted by
131 posts

Thanks so much for this info. We return from Europe in late June and our passports expire in August - so seems we're in the same boat. Will get them renewed before we leave.