Guide to the 6-month passport rule – what is it?

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

It may sound trivial, but once you’ve booked your flights, hotels, hire cars and the rest of your itinerary, it pays to look into passport validity before you travel.

You may be surprised at how the requirements differ from country to country. We’ve collected information from the U.S. Department of State website and U.K. government website to create a one-stop cheat sheet examining a range of nations that typically require you to have a passport that lasts longer than your trip — whether by one, three or six months.

Note that certain countries, marked with an asterisk, deviate from the standard six-month requirement. These findings are also only related to passport validity dates — we’re not covering visa requirements here. Those can vary depending on where you’re going and where you’re coming from.

Schengen countries in Europe

Many European countries — 26 in all — are signers of the Schengen Agreement. As a result, they follow the 3+3 Rule, which says your passport must be valid for three months beyond your three-month entry visa or for a total of six months, regardless of how long your initial stay is. While some Schengen countries only require passports to be valid for three months beyond your intended stay, others assume you may stay the full 90 days of your visa validity — thus the six-month time period.

The signers of the Schengen Agreement are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.


The remaining countries listed below abide by the usual six months of passport validity, unless otherwise noted.

Non-Schengen Europe, Asia and the Middle East

Beyond Schengen Europe, you’ll find a mix of requirements.

ADDITIONALLY, The following countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East have a variety of requirements:

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Albania*, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus*, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Croatia*, Hong Kong**, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan***, Jordan, Kazakhstan*, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau**, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, East Timor, Turkmenistan, Turkey (British passports must be valid for at least 150 days from the date you arrive in the country), United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, West Bank/Gaza Strip and Yemen.

* Passport must be valid three months beyond the scheduled departure date.

** Passport must be valid one month beyond the date of your intended stay.

*** Passport only needs to be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.


Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco (British passports must be valid for at least THREE months on the date of entry), Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Africa (passports must also have 30 days beyond your intended date of exit from the country) South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

North America and the Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, St. Barts, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago.

Central and South America

Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Brazil** (British passports need to be valid six months beyond arrival in Brazil), Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama*, Suriname and Venezuela.

* Passport must be valid three months beyond arrival.

** Passport only needs to be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

Rolling hillsides in New Zealand. WNJAY WOOTTHISASK/GETTY IMAGES

South Pacific

Australia**, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand*, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

* Passport must be valid three months beyond arrival.

** Passport only needs to be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

Bottom line

When examining the rules, note that some countries have a slight distinction: They may require validity to be either six months from the date of entry or six months from the date of intended departure. For simplicity, we’ve taken the conservative approach and assumed that for any country with a six-month rule, like most of the ones above, you should ensure your passport is valid six months past the date of intended departure just in case.

Of course, the list above only includes just a few popular destinations worldwide. If your intended destination isn’t on the list, it’s always best practice to check with your relevant passport issuer.

Additional reporting by Joe Ellison and Eric Goldner.