Passport expiration date rules for USA are one of the main concerns when traveling to the States.
And there is a good reason for that since it can get your application denied or if you have already acquired it, the passport validity can still be a reason for authorities to not let you travel to the USA.
Keep in mind, that these rules on the passport expiry date are not the same for everyone who travels to the USA. Which means you have to make sure which requirements you are a subject to in order to understand if you need to obtain a new passport or if you still can travel with the one you hold.
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When you travel to USA from UK, passport requirements are regulated by the US Visa Waiver Program and ESTA which is important to keep in mind when applying for travel authorization and planning your trip.
Do I need 6 months on my passport before expiry date to travel to USA?
Yes, when traveling to the USA you need at least 6 months of expiry date after the planned return date. However, this rule is different for citizens of some countries, for example, the UK. This will be covered in detail in the next chapter.
Passport validity is one of the most important factors to keep in mind before traveling and even if many people forget about that, one of the most common questions regarding travel to USA is:
How long do you need on your passport to travel USA?
The answer is this!
When traveling to the USA, the general rule is to have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the planned time of return.
However, there are some countries, citizens of which can enjoy a bit more freedom regarding their passport expiry rules when traveling to the USA. For citizens of these countries, the passport validity must only cover the time of their intended stay in the States.
Countries who are subject to this rule are:
Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
Which countries require 6 months of passport validity?
All of the countries which are not included in this list and are not under the specific rules regarding their citizen passport expiry dates are regulated by the 6-month passport validity law. Which means you have to make sure which of the rules apply to you before further planning your trip to the USA!
Passport Validity when traveling with ESTA
If you are traveling under the US Visa Waiver program, the travel authorization you need to acquire is an ESTA instead of a Visa. So remember, that you also need to pay attention to the ESTA validity date and not just your passport.
If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed above, the validity date of your passport must be at least the same as the date of your planned return from the US. This means that these rules are also the general travel passport requirements for USA from UK.
TRAVELING TO THE UNITED STATES?
Keep in mind that the validity of your passport also affects the validity of your ESTA. This authorization is no longer valid when your passport validity ends. If the passport is valid for more than two years after obtaining an ESTA, the authorization will be valid for two years.
If the country you are a citizen is not listed above, you are a subject to the rule of 6 months of passport validity after exiting the US.
Passport Validity when traveling with Visa
There are no Visa requirements for UK citizens, therefore these passport validity rules do not apply to the UK citizens.
Passport validity for travel to USA when traveling with a Visa usually requires the passport to be valid for at least six months after the planned date of return. However, if you are a citizen of one of the countries listed above, the rules are slightly different.
In this case, the passport validity requires the expiry date to at least meet the date of planned return.
Usually, when traveling with a Visa, your passport expiry date could also influence your chances of obtaining a US Visa. Therefore make sure your passport is valid for a long enough period before applying for a Visa.
Also, keep in mind that your Visa is no longer valid after the passport expiry date. After that, you need to obtain a new Visa.
What to do if Passport expires soon
An upcoming passport expiry date is a common problem to those travelers who are affected by the list of which countries require 6 months of passport validity. Simply because they are more likely to need to renew their passport before being able to apply for a Visa.
But this checkup for passport validity also applies to people who are citizens of countries which are regulated by the US Visa Waiver Program.
Therefore it is good to know how long does it take to get a passport in the UK or any other country for that matter. In most cases, it takes a couple of days, but it can also be done in a single day. However, there are additional fees that you will have to cover if you are renewing your passport in the last moment before traveling.
It is important to understand that there are no Visa requirements for UK citizens since they are a subject of the VWP and need to acquire and ESTA. This also changes the passport validity rules, but that does not mean it is possible to travel with an expired passport!
Do you need a biometric passport to travel to USA?
It is highly important to remember that all travelers who are traveling under the USA Visa Waiver Program need to obtain an electronic passport since the usual, machine-readable passports, will not be accepted.
TRAVELING TO THE UNITED STATES?
Make sure you can travel before applying for travel authorization
Remember that some sort of passport expiry rules apply to everyone who wishes to travel to the USA. Even if you need to obtain an ESTA instead of a Visa, there are still some rules that affect you.
This is why you should make sure your passport has a long enough validity time even before applying for travel authorization. This way you can be sure to avoid any misunderstandings and unneeded problems during the authorization process.
You should also learn more about traveling with two passports, to avoid any problems if you indeed have two citizenships.
For more specific information on expiry dates and process of renewing your passport, you should contact your local authorities.