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Beware: Your Passport Can Be Invalid, Months Before Its Expiration Date

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 6/11/2015 Suzy Strutner
ATHENA IMAGE © Maudib via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

You may think your passport is fit to travel, but one unforeseen snag could bring your trip majorly down: 

Having a valid (aka non-expired) passport isn't enough, in many destinations. You'll often need a passport that's valid for three to six months after your departure date in order to travel.

Lots of travelers have learned this the hard way, because the rules aren't very well-known: The Schengen area, for example, comprises 26 European nations including France, Italy and Spain. To visit any one of them, American travelers must have a passport that's valid for at least three months after their departure date, according to the U.S. State Department.

In other destinations, including many Asian countries, your passport must be valid for six months after departure in order to travel.

Not complying could get you stranded before your flight takes off... or even worse, while transferring planes in another country.

The requirement has long been in place, the State Department explains, but "it is only recently that (it) has been more strictly enforced." Indeed, stories are all too common of travelers turned away from airports because their passports weren't valid for the required three to six months after departure. 

So check the date on yours, and renew the easy way if it's not eligible for your upcoming trip. You can find the passport requirements for your destination on the U.S. State Department website.

Happy travels!

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