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I was just reading this question Can I travel within a week still? I didn't realize my passport expired over a month ago

and began wondering what would happen if your passport expired while you were out of your home country?

I would assume that customs would realize that your passport would be expired within the time period of your stay (i.e., you want to stay for a month in X country, but your passport expires in 15 days), and refuse you entry to your destination, but what if customs didn't notice, and you were allowed entry?

I also saw this question What happens if you lose your passport at an airport / during transit?

Where one of the answers mentioned that you would be sent back to your home country (if passport was lost away from home), or possibly be able to work with your country's embassy in order to work something out.

So I am curious what would happen if your passport does expire during a trip? Is it similar to if you lost your passport, or is it something else entirely?

NOTE: This question is purely out of curiosity.

  • As said in one answer, it depends on the country. Hence voting to close as too broad, as an answer would need to explain the situation in every country on Earth. – fkraiem Sep 4 '17 at 23:49
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    In general, this is a problem that is only relevant to expatriates, because visitors are typically not admitted beyond the expiration date of the passport they use to enter the country. Perhaps you should ask at Expatriates. – phoog Sep 5 '17 at 0:08
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    @Dara, there is more to this story. The USA does not have a national ID card, passport or otherwise. Unless he is making the story up completely, he owes big money that must be paid before his passport is renewed. (Unpaid child support would be a good guess, as there is a law that freezes passports for that; I think tax evasion also "works".) – Andrew Lazarus Apr 5 '18 at 0:22
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    In 2002 my US passport expired while I was visiting a friend in Canada. I renewed it through the mail and had it delivered to my mother in the US; she then mailed it to me in Canada via insured registered mail. – arp May 1 '18 at 6:51
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    On the other hand I know someone whose German passport expired while he was in the US with a green card and he ended up effectively stateless, as the town he was born in was no longer part of Germany and he had no easy way to prove German citizenship to the standard required for a new application. – arp May 1 '18 at 6:59
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It entirely depends on the country.

For the UK, there is the following guidance issued for the public:

You’re from an EEA country or Switzerland

You can enter the UK with either a valid passport or a national identity card issued by a EEA country. It must be valid for the whole of your stay.

You’re not from an EEA country

You must have a valid passport to enter the UK. It must be valid for the whole of your stay.

If you try to enter the UK on a passport which will expire during your intended visit, one of several things may happen:

  • you may be denied boarding by the airline or ferry company
  • you may be denied entry at the border by the Immigration Official
  • you may be allowed entry for a shorter period of time

The United States has the following guidance for the public:

Visitors traveling to the U.S. are required to be in possession of passports that are valid for six months beyond the period of their intended stay in the U.S.

However, they also publish a list of countries which are exempt from this six month rule, called the "Six-Month Club".

Citizens of the countries listed below are exempt the six-month rule and need only have a passport valid for their intended period of stay.

Six-Month Club

Other countries will have their own approach to this issue.

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    "The United States has the following guidance for the public:" This just means that CBP will put on the I-94 a date that is no later than 6 months before the passport expires (or the date the passport expires for passports in the 6-month club). However, certain statuses, like F students and J exchange visitors are given "D/S", and not a date, on their I-94s, which would not be affected by when the passport expires. So people in F and J status can easily be in status for much longer than the passport expiration (e.g. students can study for years). – user102008 Sep 20 '17 at 16:51
  • The "Six-Month Club" link gives 404 Not Found – Stewart Apr 22 '18 at 22:15
  • @user102008 people in F and J status are not visitors (J is often called "exchange visitor" status, but 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(J) does not use the word "visitor"). – phoog Mar 26 at 3:04
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Generally speaking, the period you are allowed to stay in a foreign country is shorter than the time you have until your passport expires. So, your question is almost purely hypothetical.

If your passport does expire while you're abroad, and your passport is the only valid travel document that's accepted for your nationality in that country, you're probably breaking some other law as well, like overstaying your visa. But, no one can smell your passport expired, so, if your passport doesn't get inspected in-country, and it's not inspected thoroughly when leaving the country, you could just get away with it.

Otherwise, you can go through your embassy or consulate, or the embassy that represents your country, to obtain a temporary or emergency travel document. Though, you still might up ending being fined by the host country.

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    There is an important exception, long term residents. I am a US permanent resident, so I have permission to live in the US longer than the ten years for which a British passport is normally valid. I just renew my passport as needed. – Patricia Shanahan Mar 26 at 2:33
  • @PatriciaShanahan those admitted to the US for duration of status also do not need to maintain a valid passport. Certain E-status nonimmigrants can be admitted until up to six months after the expiration of the passport. Those applying for extension of nonimmigrant status are generally required to agree to maintain a valid passport, but I've seen no indication that anyone actually checks whether they have in fact done so. – phoog Mar 26 at 3:10
  • @phoog You are right as far as living in the US and entering the US are concerned. I maintain a passport for travel outside the US. – Patricia Shanahan Mar 26 at 3:39
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    @PatriciaShanahan of course. I just wanted to point out that permanent residents are not the only non-US-nationals who can legally be in the US without a valid passport. I asked a question about this some time ago, but I do not remember whether it was at Expatriates or Law. – phoog Mar 26 at 3:43
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Usually you wouldn't be allowed to travel if there's less than 6 months left on your passport anyway, to prevent this issue.

If however you say, had your trip out delayed, or some other unforseen situation (illness?), it would depend on the country, and your best bet would be to contact your embassy. At that point it'd likely be similar to losing a passport - you're now out of your home country with no valid travel documents, and so you could get an Emergency Travel Document issued at best to get you home. (British Example).

  • Interesting... So even if you are travelling somewhere within the expiry period, and will be back before it expires, you still cannot do this if you have 6 months or less left on your passport? – XaolingBao Sep 4 '17 at 23:39
  • @XaolingBao depends on the country, but yeah (lifehacker.com.au/2016/06/…) – Mark Mayo Sep 5 '17 at 0:15
  • @XaolingBao: Exactly. It depends on the country, but many countries will require a passport that is valid for longer than your intended stay. So if something goes wrong, or badly wrong (you have an accident and spend four months in hospital), you still have an unexpired passport and the problem doesn't happen. – gnasher729 Sep 5 '17 at 6:05

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