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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Keep This Passport Quirk from Ruining Your Next Vacation

Great news for travelers! Passport processing times are back to normal after significant delays in 2023. This means you’re less likely to miss out on a trip due to a stalled passport renewal. However, there’s another passport snafu you need to be aware of – the requirement for your passport to have a certain amount of validity left before you travel to certain destinations.

Many countries require that Americans have a few months of validity remaining on their U.S. passport in order to travel there or secure a visa. For example, the Schengen Area in Europe requires a U.S. passport to be valid for at least 90 days beyond the end of your trip. Similar requirements exist in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, with some countries even requiring up to six months of validity for entry.

It’s crucial to meet these requirements as gatekeepers like border officials have the authority to deny you travel if your passport falls short. Some airlines even won’t let you board the flight, potentially ruining your vacation. This is why it’s better to be safe than sorry and check the validity requirements before making any travel plans.

Also, don’t forget about visas. When traveling to certain countries, you may be required to secure a separate visa for entry, which can be an additional cost. The State Department website provides passport-validity and visa requirements for specific countries, so be sure to check it out before planning your trip.

And when it comes to renewing your passport, it’s best to plan ahead, especially if your passport is set to expire within a year. The cost for a traditional passport is $130 for adults and $35 for first-time applicants. Expedited processing is available for an additional fee, and passports are generally valid for 10 years.

The good news is that passport processing times have returned to normal after the historic volume of applications last year caused significant delays. The State Department announced in December that they have returned to pre-pandemic processing times, with routine service taking six to eight weeks and expedited service taking two to three weeks.

With passport processing back to normal, it’s the perfect time to start planning your next global adventure. So don’t delay, check the expiration date of your passport, apply for a new one if needed, and start dreaming about your next vacation destination. Happy travels!

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