Tips And Advice Trips + Planning

Finding Out Your Passport Has Expired…At The Airport

February 24, 2016
Passport Title

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?

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  • Reply Cahaya September 18, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    It happened to me in Indonesia. My passport was expiring in 2 months and The immigration officer refused me entry & insisted i return back on the same flight or the next available flight. I pleaded with the officers but they didn’t budge. I had some local help in greasing these officers with some ‘monetary gifts’ and they changed their minds and allowed me in. Anyway I don’t recommend this way and it’s best to have a passport that still has 6 months validity before travelling…

    • Reply ahmed ijaz October 23, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Oh! That was silly, but I am sure you learned something from this experience and will be more careful when traveling in the future. Wish you all the best.

  • Reply Mohammad Sirajum Munir November 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I like to add something as my opinion. Usually while you applying for visa on embassy they asking for minimum 6 months validity in your passport before stamping your visa. So i think after getting visa it does not matter how many months or how many days you have passport validity. If i have valid visa and if i have even few days passport validity and my departure time within my passport validity then i think immigration office should let you enter his country.
    And mostly embassy ask for 6 months valid passport because there many countries issue visa for 6 months to 5 years.As like India issue minimum 1 year tourist visa for Bangladeshi so its fine to have 1 year tourist visa even i have 6 months passport validity.Another example is usa.They issue 5 years multiple tourist visa so if i have 6 months validity passport that not create any problem to get 5 years usa visa. So what happened in Male that was right because she does not have passport validity but what happened in Thailand it was not right.

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