You certainly will require a valid passport to enter any country in the world and you know it, but a little lesser-known mandatory requirement for some countries is that a passport should be valid for a specific number of months from the date of entry, or after the passport holder leaves the country. Each country makes its own border control rules and regulations, and they sometimes change, so it is wise to know before you go – if you are close to that mark, renew yours now.
Not all countries you plan traveling to may require six months of validity on your passport, but it is a rapidly growing standard rule adapted by border control authorities in many countries. Interestingly, China considers six months from the commencement of your journey; while Russia considers six months beyond your exit date.
I witnessed an alarming situation a few years back, when a couple from France flew to Malé on a seasonal flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. The Immigration officer at Malé airport refused the lady’s entry because her passport was expired. The immigration in Paris scanned her passport to MLE and did not indicate there was a problem, if she was made aware of the problem in Paris, she could have gotten her passport renewed before commencing her journey even if she required to delay her departure date from Paris. By the time she found out, however, it was too late. I don’t necessarily agree with the process, it is also the passenger’s responsibility in making sure that all documents are in order before traveling. Should an airline or border control lets you board an international flight, if your documents are incorrect, border control agents at the destination will deny entry when you arrive and force you to fly home.
What happened to the French couple?
I wasn’t around to see the entire showdown, but my colleague told me that the man who was accompanying the woman smashed the airport toilet mirror with much anger and frustration, they pleaded the Immigration officer, but were forced to fly back to Paris on the outbound flight via the same aircraft/airline.
One last piece of advice: If you are planning to travel somewhere for the first time, always check with the destination country’s consulate based in your country or the tourist information bureau to get the most up-to-date requirements. You can also communicate with a well-reputed travel agent based in your destination country.
When was the last time you have had a good look at your passport expiration date?