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I've heard that you can't travel to the US 6 months before your visa expires. Is that true? Or does that only apply to 6 months until the expiration of the passport? (Or does it apply to neither?)

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I'm only familiar to such rules about the expiration date of the passport but I may not know everything. (-: – hippietrail Sep 20 '11 at 20:42
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I haven't heard or come across a rule which requires you have six months or more validity on a US visa to be allowed in. As the US Department of State website explains:

The visa validity is the length of time you are permitted to travel to a port-of-entry in the U.S.


Additionally, the visa expiration date shown on your visa does not reflect how long you are authorized to stay within the U.S. Entry and the length of authorized stay within the U.S. are determined by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at the port-of-entry each time you travel.

What I believe you are talking about is the minimum validity of your passport that is required. From the London office website of US Embassy:

I understand that my passport needs to be valid for at least six months; is this correct?

The requirement that a passport is valid for travel for six months beyond the holder's stay in the United States is waived for certain nationalities. Please follow this link for further information.

Which means that if your country is listed among the ones in the PDF document, having less than six months validity of your passport will not be an issue. Additionally, other websites mention a minimum of 90 days validity is required for your passport (although this might be specific to if you're entering under the visa waiver programme) but the London office of US Embassy site states that is okay, and will only limit your stay period to whatever date your passport expires.

However, the New Delhi website of US Embassy implies you do need to get your passport renewed if it will be valid for less than six months from the time you enter.

Please obtain a new passport before your interview if:

Your passport is going to expire in less than 6 months after the time you enter the United States.

Your situation, then, will vary depending on what residency status you hold in a country as well as your citizenship.

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No, this is definitely not true. I've had many friends travel to the States with less than 6 months to go on their visa expiration date. Also noted on the site is that the visa is valid up until the date it's set to expire.

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I traveled with my minor son this year. His visa expiry date is 16/07/2016. We entered the USA on 25th April 2016 and came back to India on the 6th of June 2016. So I don't think its true that you cannot travel before six month or three month of expiry of passport.

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The second sentence says "visa" but the last says "passport." – phoog Jun 20 at 11:48

Minimum validity of passport at the time of travel is 6 months. Passport expiry less than 6 months is liable to refuse entry in the country and you will be deported.
But visa validity required is minimum 3 months, as general minimum stay allowed for long term B2 visa (10 years) is 3 months.

I don't know if one has less than 3 months visa validity and on arrival ask for only 2 months or less stay, if they allow the entry or stick to minimum 3 months validity.

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Good answer, could you perhaps provide some references to your numbers somewhere ? – blackbird57 Jan 10 at 19:14
This answer is incorrect. It varies depending on passport country, length of stay required, and type of visa/VWP. – Doc Jan 10 at 19:51
Actually, you can enter the US on the day your visa expires. It's not necessary for the visa to be valid during your stay. It only needs to be valid when you enter. – phoog Jun 8 at 7:13

From the us government website

Visitor visa -> Gather Required Documentation -> Passport

Passport valid for travel to the United States - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States, unless exempt by country-specific agreements (PDF - 57 KB). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.

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Welcome! The links you give don't seem to answer the question. The question is specifically about visa validity but your answer only talks about passport validity. – David Richerby Apr 13 at 1:28

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