Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Public Service Warning: Passports

If you have a passport and you think you know its expiration date, think again.

A friend of mine, born in St. Petersburg and now a U.S. citizen, planned a trip this summer to Turkey and Greece.  Her family planned to return on August 13.  Her passport expired on August 29.  Naturally, she did not expect problems.

To her surprise, she was denied approval to travel because her passport's expiration date was less than six months after her planned date of return.  Her husband and son left without her while she traveled instead to Philadelphia to get a new passport.  

She missed Istanbul.  (Nobody should miss Istanbul.)  Plus, it cost a small fortune to rebook her air tickets.

Apparently travel guide books are making this known, but it is not broadly circulated in our country because US officials actually respect the dates on US passports.

The general caution:  "Many countries will not grant entry if your passport expires within six months. Other countries will only allow entry if your passport is valid for the entire length of your visa, which can range up to 90 days and beyond. Check with the State Department to find passport deadline rules for different countries. The general rule is to renew your passport before it is six months from expiration."

Words don't always mean what they seem to mean, alas.  

My advice:  Check your passport's expiration date now. 

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