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You already know that when you travel to any foreign country (Canada and Mexico included), you need to have a valid passport to enter the region and to get back into the United States. However, what many people don’t know is that several countries enforce a passport six month rule known formerly as the Six Months Validity Rule. If a country uses the six month rule, your passport’s expiration date must be at least six months from the day that you plan to enter the country.

In other words, if you are planning to fly into Ecuador on June 1st, your passport can’t expire before December 1st, even if you plan to leave the country well before the month ends. Different countries have different reasons for enforcing the six month rule, but the primary reason is most likely that it helps prevent travelers from entering a country with a soon-to-expire passport, then running into trouble when their trip is extended or runs longer than planned.

COUNTRIES ENFORCING SIX MONTH VALIDITY RULE*

If you have a US passport and you’re curious if the country you plan to travel to follows the six month rule, here is a complete list of countries that enforce this particular regulation:

Albania Mauritius
Angola Mexico
Bahamas Mozambique
Bahrain Namibia
Belize New Caledonia
Bolivia Nicaragua
Botswana Oman
Brazil Palau
Brunei Papua New Guinea
Burma (Myanmar) Philippines
Burundi Saudi Arabia
China Singapore
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) St. Lucia
Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands Taiwan
French Polynesia Tajikistan
Guyana Tanzania
Honduras Thailand
Indonesia Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Iran Trinidad & Tobago
Iraq Turkmenistan
Jamaica Uganda
Kenya Ukraine
Kiribati Venezuela
Laos Vietnam
Madagascar Zambia
Malaysia

*This list is current as of January 2, 2014.  Please check Department of State Website for most up to date information

It’s also important to note that many European countries require your passport to be valid for at least three months after entering the country. The United Kingdom is not on this list, which has changed somewhat in recent months.  Should you have questions about upcoming international travel using your passport or a specific country’s regulations, give officeLOCALE a call today at (805) 777-8866 so we can address your concerns. Keep in mind that some of these countries also require you to obtain a travel visa as well as a passport before entering the country. If your passport is going to expire within six months of traveling to any of the aforementioned countries, don’t take any chances.  Instead, officeLOCALE team so we can help you renew your passport well in advance of your trip.