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  #1  
Old 04-16-2013, 03:10 PM
Aro Aro is offline
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WHY does a passport need to be valid for six months (after travel)?

Title says it all - I can find many sites explaining that my passport must have six months validity after dates of travel, but none explaining the actual reasoning behind what is gained (for countries in question asking for it) by such a rule? Can you help fight my ignorance; thanks!
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2013, 03:17 PM
jtur88 jtur88 is online now
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It doesn't. But a lot of countries have a policy that they will not issue a visa in a passport that has less than 6 months remaining validity, to ensure that the passport does not expire while the traveler is in the country.
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2013, 03:18 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is online now
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My WAG. Most tourist visas are for 6 months or less. Ensuring you have a valid passport when you return probably saves everyone time, money and aggravation.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:20 PM
Aro Aro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
It doesn't. But a lot of countries have a policy that they will not issue a visa in a passport that has less than 6 months remaining validity, to ensure that the passport does not expire while the traveler is in the country.
So why if I'm travelling to a country where I don't need a visa, or one where I have a typical 3 month visa already sorted, do I still need the 6 months overrun in many instances? I'm really trying to ascertain why such policies came into being in the first place. It seems wasteful (from a user perspective), as I never get the full 10 years I pay for on each passport renewal.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:48 PM
Great Antibob Great Antibob is offline
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Originally Posted by Aro View Post
So why if I'm travelling to a country where I don't need a visa, or one where I have a typical 3 month visa already sorted, do I still need the 6 months overrun in many instances?
Many times, yes. It's often a case of requiring a 6 month passport for everybody even if some people (often US citizens) can have their visa requirement waived. It's not like bureaucrats think about all possible exceptions to rules when drafting them.
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2013, 06:49 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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A bunch of us were discussing that on the airport shuttle at an international location a couple of weeks back. Could not come up with a real justification save for that it may be a carryover from when it was far more difficult to rush a renewal, or they may be covering for if some unforeseen circumstance delays you past your tourist-visa term, but we could not come up with anything.
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  #7  
Old 04-16-2013, 07:43 PM
Askance Askance is offline
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I've always assumed that it's in case you get sick or injured over there and have to stay longer than you planned, the overwhelming likelihood is you'll recover enough to be able to travel within the 6 months you have left, and not have to go through the hassle of renewing your passport while overseas and sick. But I have no evidence for this.
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  #8  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:40 PM
Grateful-UnDead Grateful-UnDead is offline
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So what happens if you are overseas and your passport expires? Do you turn into a Zombie, or what?

Is this requirement just our wonderful government doing its bit to prevent the zombie apocalypse?
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:54 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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They want to make sure that if they need to send you home, your home country is definitely going to take you back, ideally immediately. Nobody wants to wait through a passport renewal process before deporting you.
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  #10  
Old 04-16-2013, 10:58 PM
commasense commasense is offline
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I don't know why, either, but it proved to be a pain in the butt for me a few years ago.

My wife and I went on Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon. The trip was one week in the middle of August; my passport expired that October. The ship left from Seattle, went to Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, and the last stop was in Victoria, BC, Canada, for less than 24 hours.

The Canadian government made me renew my (US) passport (at short notice, and with some expense and inconvenience) even though it had more than two months left. And the cruise company wouldn't have let me board without the renewed passport, either.

Damn bureaucrats!
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  #11  
Old 04-17-2013, 12:05 AM
Giles Giles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grateful-UnDead View Post
So what happens if you are overseas and your passport expires? Do you turn into a Zombie, or what?
I've been outside my native country with an expired passport, simply because renewing my passport at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC took longer than I expected. (I was a permanent resident of the US, so the six-month rule didn't apply to me.) So I'm not sure that being in a foreign country with an expired passport is such a big deal, as long as you've got the time to renew it at an embassy or consulate.
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  #12  
Old 04-17-2013, 12:29 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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One time, my neighbor on a long plane trip was a lady who'd gotten apendicitis on the last day of being on vacation in the US with her son and his family. Emergency surgery, long hospital stay (longer than if she'd had a house she could go to without taking a plane); her family had to go back home, leaving her in the care of Consular Services. She hugged her still-valid passport like a lifesaver, "what if I'd had to stay longer? The doctors didn't want to let me fly, but I already over-ran the visa waiver by one day! Imagine if I'd had to renew the passport on top of that? Both the people from the embassy and the insurance company made sure it would still be valid, but what if it hadn't? Where would I have gotten a passport picture?" I told her I was reasonably sure Consular Services would have found a way to get the picture, but still: imagine being in the hospital, with nobody you know except a very-polite person with a very important-sounding job, in a country whose main language you don't know (one of the good things she took out of the experience is that she'd learned some English during her stay ), and adding the worry of overstayed visas and expired passports on top of all the rest.
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  #13  
Old 04-17-2013, 12:30 AM
Isilder Isilder is offline
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The policy suits your country too as it reduces the number of people doing passport renewals at consulates (or embassies with consulate services). Its quite expensive to operate embassies and consulates.

So the standard or convention is almost universal as a cost saving measure.
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2013, 02:27 AM
Martini Enfield Martini Enfield is offline
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I've often wondered the same thing as it seems rather pointless - I understand maybe a month or two just in case there's a delay or something which prevents you from leaving as planned, but six months seems extreme to me.
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2013, 08:41 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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the policy is a holdover from having slow boats to China.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:13 PM
D18 D18 is offline
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At least for Canadians visiting the US, this rule is no longer in place.
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  #17  
Old 04-17-2013, 01:01 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is online now
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Wouldn't it be nice if the passport listed the "real" expiration date on it so you wouldn't have to guess how much longer it was going to work?
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  #18  
Old 04-17-2013, 05:33 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Wouldn't it be nice if the passport listed the "real" expiration date on it so you wouldn't have to guess how much longer it was going to work?
It couldn't do that, because it varies by country. Some countries just want you to have a passport that is valid for the length of your stay.
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  #19  
Old 04-17-2013, 07:15 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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The "real" expiration date is the one that says on the passport. Some sovereign country other than your homeland has the prerrogative to pass its own policy as to whether they want you to get your business with them done some time before that date.
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