The 6-month passport validity rule is not a rule that the United States has imposed, it is a rule that foreign countries have imposed.  The rule states that a person’s passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entry to the country.  These countries have imposed these rules so that if a person needs to stay in the country for that long due to unexpected circumstances, they would still have a valid passport when it was time for them to leave the country.

There are over 50 countries that have the 6-month validity rule, so it is very important that everyone checks their passport before they plan a trip overseas.  Anyone who has a passport that will not be valid for at least 6 months from the beginning of their trip will need to renew their passport before they go. 

If a person does not renew their passport before their trip, they may not be allowed to board the plane.  If they do manage to get on board their flight, they can still be turned away once they reach their destination. 

The U.S. Department of State actually recommends that everyone renews their passport at least 9 months before it expires.  This will allow for processing time for busier travel seasons.  It is possible to have the processing time expedited, but it costs more money.  People who are traveling with children also need to remember that a child’s passport is only valid for 5 years while an adult’s passport is valid for 10 years. 

The U.S. Department of State also wants travelers to be aware that some countries require at least two to four blank pages in a passport before they will let a person enter their country.  There is way to request more stamp pages, however it may be better to request a passport with 52 pages if a person knows that they travel frequently. 

Everyone should verify the expiration date of their passport before they even begin making international travel plans.  By doing this, they can prevent making travel arrangements for a time period when they might not be able to travel.