I am a US citizen and I am flying to Germany on September 6 2017. My passport expires on March 13 2018 which is not beyond the 6 month period by 7 days. However I keep reading about 6 months validity after my departure date. Is this my departure date coming back home. I leave Germany on September 22 2017. This would leave me 9 days short of the 6 month rule if this is interpreted by departure from Germany. Can someone clarify?


The rule is that your passport must be valid for three months beyond your intended date of departure. The reason for the advice about six months from the date of entry is that you have three months' maximum stay in the Schengen area (90 days, actually), so if your passport expires less than six months after your date of entry, you're going to have to convince the officer that your intended date of departure is really more than three months before the expiration date.

The three-month rule is specified in the Schengen Borders Code, Article 6:

Entry conditions for third-country nationals

  1. For intended stays on the territory of the Member States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period, which entails considering the 180-day period preceding each day of stay, the entry conditions for third-country nationals shall be the following:

(a) they are in possession of a valid travel document entitling the holder to cross the border satisfying the following criteria:

(i) its validity shall extend at least three months after the intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States. In a justified case of emergency, this obligation may be waived;


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  • My passport does not expire less than 6 months from entering the country. But am I a third country national from the USA? – Bill p Aug 31 '17 at 23:45
  • @BillP yes. "third country" means a country that is not a member of the EU. – phoog Sep 1 '17 at 0:28

I called the Germany embassy today and they told me 3 months. I hope I won't have problems entering Germany next week.

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