How many months do I need on my passport to travel?
Having a valid passport is essential for international travel, but countries have different rules around when a passport expires — and it’s not necessarily the date shown on your document. After Brexit, for example, UK passport holders now need to have a passport that’s less than ten years old when you enter an EU member state, with an expiry date that’s at least three months after the day you leave.
For some destinations, a valid passport isn’t the only requirement — you may also need to have full blank pages for visa and entry and exit stamps. Here’s everything you need to know, including the entry requirements for some of the most popular destinations for British travellers.
Main photo: wherever you’re going, check the passport requirements (Alamy)
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Corsica: your passport must be less than ten years old when you enter and valid for at least three months after you leave (Alamy)
• Spain: passport must be less than ten years old when you enter the country and valid for at least three months after the day you leave.
• Greece: less than ten years old when you enter the country and valid for at least three months after the day you leave.
• France: less than ten years old when you enter the country and valid for at least three months after the day you leave.
• Italy: less than ten years old when you enter the country and valid for at least three months after the day you leave.
• US: passport must be valid for duration of stay, no additional validity required.
The US: your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay (Getty Images)
Less than three months needed
• Argentina: passport must be valid for duration of stay
• Australia: valid for duration of stay.
• Barbados: valid for duration of stay.
• Bermuda: valid for duration of stay
• Canada: valid for duration of stay
• Chile: valid for duration of stay
• Cuba: valid for two months after departure.
• Japan: valid for duration of stay
• Jamaica: valid for duration of stay
• Mexico: valid for duration of stay.
• Morocco: valid for duration of stay but three additional months is advisable
• Seychelles: valid for duration of stay.
• St Lucia: valid for duration of stay
• Tunisia: valid for duration of stay
Tunisia: your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay (Alamy)
Three months needed
• EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden): passport must be valid from day after departure and less than ten years old
• Iceland: passport must be valid from day after departure and less than ten years old.
• Norway: from day after departure and less than ten years old
• Switzerland: from day after departure and less than ten years old
Switzerland: your passport will need to be valid from day after departure and less than ten years old (Getty Images)
Six months needed
• Anguilla: passport must be valid for six months from arrival
• Antigua and Barbuda: from arrival
• Bolivia: from arrival
• Dominican Republic: from arrival (as of July 31, 2022)
• Taiwan: from arrival
India: your passport be valid 180 days from visa application and arrival, and contain two blank pages (Alamy)
Which countries require blank pages in your passport?
Some countries require full blank pages for visas on arrival as well as entry and exit stamps. In some cases, these blank pages need to be consecutive. Double check with the embassy before you travel.
• India: passport must be valid 180 days from visa application and arrival, and contain two blank pages
• Kenya: valid six months from arrival, plus two blank pages
• Mauritius: valid for duration of stay, plus a blank page
• Namibia: valid six months from arrival, plus a blank page
• Rwanda: valid six months from arrival, plus a blank page
• Turkey: valid six months from arrival, plus a blank page.
• South Africa: valid for six months from arrival and 30 days on departure, plus two blank pages
How do I find out how long I need on my passport?
The Foreign Office has a full list of entry requirements for different countries, including passport validity. It assumes you are travelling on a full, standard British passport. If you have a passport issued from a British Overseas Territory, the entry requirements may be different for some destinations. You should also double check details with the embassy of the country you’re visiting.
What’s the minimum passport validity to enter the UK?
The UK government requires visitors from other countries to have a passport (or other valid ID if from EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) that is valid for the duration of their stay. No additional validity is required.
How do I get a new passport if I need one?
You can apply for a new passport online via the government’s website. It costs £75.50 for a standard adult passport (valid 10 years), or £49 for a child under 16 (valid five years), and you’ll need a credit or debit card for this. Alternatively you can apply for one through the post; the forms for postal applications are available through the Post Office and it costs £85 for an adult or £58.50 for a child.
You’ll need to send in certain documents which usually include a birth certificate if it’s your first passport, or your previous passport if you’re renewing. The requirements vary according to your circumstances but the application form will tell you what you need.
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Passport 6 Month Rule
A passport is a travel document issued by your origin country which allows you to travel internationally. Usually, an ordinary passport is valid for 5 to 10 years, and because of this, most people neglect to check if their passport is about to expire. However, if your passport has less than 3 or 6 months left until expiration, most countries do not allow you to travel.
Don’t forget a passport is different from a traveling visa, and as such, they are not valid for the same amount of time.
What Is the Passport 6 Month Rule?
The 6-month passport rule states that your passport must be valid for another six months before you depart for international travel. Depending on which country you are traveling to, the six-month period may begin from the date you leave that country or the date you arrive.
However, not all countries follow the six-month requirement; some countries require that you have a passport with a three-month duration period. This requirement changes based on where you are traveling and sometimes even based on your nationality. For this reason, you are strongly advised to renew your passport or check with an embassy or consulate what the requirements are.
Why Should My Passport Be Valid for Six Months If I Will Stay Abroad for Less?
Your passport needs to be valid for 6 months to prevent you from overstaying in a foreign country. Suppose your passport expires during your travels, then you are left without a way to return home until you receive an emergency travel document. To avoid this from happening, countries began imposing the “six/three-month passport validity” rule.
What Countries Have a Six-Month Passport Validity Rule?
The countries listed here require you to have a passport with a period of at least 6 months upon arrival:
|British Virgin Islands||Kenya||Sri Lanka|
|Cayman Islands||Marshall Islands||Thailand|
|Central African Republic||Micronesia||Timor-Leste|
|Ecuador||Oman||United Arab Emirates|
|El Salvador||Papua New Guinea||Venezuela|
|Guinea Bissau||Saint Lucia|
*Please note that the six-month rule in Canada may change depending on your country of origin— check with an embassy before traveling.
Countries With a Three-Month Passport Validity Requirement
You can travel to these countries with a three-month valid passport:
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Montenegro|
*These countries require a 3-month passport validity from your arrival date into the country. Schengen countries require that you have a passport validity of 3 months from the date you intend to leave the EU.
Countries With Other Passport Validity Requirements
Besides the six-month or three-month passport requirement, some countries require other validity periods:
|Country||Passport Validity Period|
|Bermuda||45 days upon entry|
|Eritrea||3 months on arrival|
|Hong Kong||3 months on arrival|
|Lebanon||3 months on arrival|
|Macau||3 months on arrival|
|Micronesia||4 months on arrival|
|South Africa||3 months on arrival|
|The Maldives||3 months on arrival|
|Zambia||4 months on arrival|
Are There Any Exceptions to the Passport Six-Month Rule?
There are a few exceptions to this rule; for example, you can enter Paraguay as long as your passport is valid, no matter the validity period. Certain other countries may have bilateral agreements with one another to shorten the six-month passport requirement or eliminate it altogether. It all depends on your destination and your country of residence- contact a representative office before departure.
Can I Travel If My Passport Expires in Less Than Six Months?
In normal circumstances, you can’t travel with a passport that expires in less than six months. However, a country with an active agreement with your destination country may allow it. You may even enter with an expired passport in some countries as long as you still have the document with you.
Could I Be Denied Entry Abroad If My Passport Expires Soon?
Yes, you will be denied entry abroad if your passport is about to expire. Additionally, if you need a visa, you won’t receive one with a passport with a validity of less than six (sometimes three) months.
For this reason, you have to make sure that your passport is up-to-date before you travel. If it’s not, then apply for a renewal at your local authority at least a month before.
What If My Passport Expires Abroad?
If your passport expires while you are abroad, contact the embassy or consulate of your country and apply for an emergency travel document. You must remember that most travel emergency documents are valid only until you re-enter your home country; afterward, you must apply for a new passport.
Remember: You cannot leave for your country of residence with an expired passport- wait for the embassy/consulate to help you.
Is my passport valid for travel to Europe?
If your passport is more than ten years old or there is less than three months before it expires, you may not be able to use it to travel to countries within the EU. The rules came into effect after Brexit, with Ireland being the only exception. Here’s what you need to know.
Main photo: Alamy
What documents do I need to travel from the UK?
A valid passport is essential for travelling outside of the UK. For travel to the EU and EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), it needs to be less than ten years old when you enter the country and have at least three months left on it the day after you leave. The only exception is if you are travelling to Ireland — which is part of the Common Travel Area with the UK — where you can travel up to the day your passport expires.
Depending on where you are travelling to, for what purpose and for how long, you may also need to get a visa. After Brexit, UK nationals are only permitted to stay in EU countries for a maximum of 90 days out of 180, after which a visa or other entry permit may be needed. You will need to check the entry requirements for each individual country you are visiting.
If you are planning to drive or hire a car, you will need to take your driving licence. And if you only have a paper version of the licence, or your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, you may need to apply for an International Driving Licence, which costs £5.50 from the Post Office. Those taking their own cars across the border will also need relevant insurance and vehicle registration details as well as a UK sticker on the vehicle.
When travelling to EU countries, you may also want to apply for and take your UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC). This free benefit replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for most UK nationals after Brexit. It entitles you to the same access to public medical care as residents. In some cases, having the card with you is a requisite of ensuring your travel insurance is valid.
Can you travel to Europe without a passport from the UK?
In most cases, you will need your passport to travel to Europe. Ireland is the only exception, although the government still advises taking your passport with you, and airlines will typically insist on it.
What if I lose my passport?
If you have lost your passport, or you do not have time to get a new one before you travel, you may be able to apply for an emergency travel document. These cost £100 and you will need to attend a British embassy in person after you have applied online. The document contains your exact itinerary and if you decide to change your plans at the last minute you will need a new document.
Can you travel with an expired passport within Europe?
In theory, yes, because land borders within the Schengen area are open and ID checks are only carried out in exceptional circumstances. For example, the Spanish government has said that its citizens may enter the country on an expired passport or ID after its authenticity has been checked; however, a valid travel document is still required to leave the country. In the case of the UK, your passport will be checked at all border controls and you will need to make sure it’s valid for travel.
Passport control at Heathrow Airport (Getty Images)
How long do you need on your passport to travel to Spain?
Like most countries in the EU, Spain requires those travelling on a British passport to have at least three months remaining after the day you plan to leave. You also need to check that it is less than ten years old when you enter Spain.
How long do you need on your passport to travel to Greece?
For Greece, the usual EU passport validity rules apply. This means it needs to be less than ten years old when you enter the country and have at least three months left on it the day after you leave.
How long do you need on your passport to travel to Portugal?
EU passport validity rules also apply in Portugal. So your passport needs to be less than ten years old when you enter the country and have at least three months left on it the day after you leave.
How long do you need on your passport to travel to the USA?
For entry into the USA, your passport needs to be valid for the duration of your stay although it doesn’t need to have any additional validity on it. However, you may need an Esta or visa for entry.
How long do you need on your passport to travel to Turkey?
Turkey requires UK passport holders to have at least six months remaining on their passports from the day they arrive. It also needs to have a full blank page for the entry and exit stamps.
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