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I'm flying to the US with my daughter who has an Israeli passport valid for 3 months and a visa valid for 10 years. I read here that you can enter the US with a passport valid only for the length of your stay. I know that some countries require you to have a passport valid for 6 months after your return flight. I also heard that the airline gets fined if someone is denied entry. Is there a risk that the airline won't let me board because they're being stricter than US immigration?

I emailed Delta but they might get back to me after we fly.

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    Yes, it is possible for the airline to set their own rules, which may be more strict that immigration rules. It falls to the passengers to research both the immigration laws, and the airline rules, and follow all of them. – abelenky Feb 20 '18 at 21:00
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Airlines use a database provided by IATA, called Timatic. Its answers almost always match the immigration requirements.

For an Israeli flying to USA, it says (query via the Emirates site):

Passport required.

Passport Exemptions: Passengers with an Authorization for Parole of an Alien into the United States (Form I-512).

Document Validity: Passports issued to nationals of Israel must be valid for the period of intended stay.

So there's no need for 6 months.

  • While this information is absolutely correct, airlines can definitely be more strict than regular immigration in certain circumstances when Timatic is unable to handle complexities like dual passports, among others. – crayarikar Feb 20 '18 at 22:21
  • I was stopped by an airline when flying from Fukuoka to Paris (where I have a visa) and I was asked to show my visa, and then made to wait half an hour whilst they verified that. I have a valid visa now (long stay, for US citizen), so it's fine, but I'm moving to Japan soon, and I will be visiting France using the visa waiver procedure. Wondering if this implies that the airline might stop me flying, even though I don't technically 'need' a visa. – la femme cosmique Feb 21 '18 at 14:38
  • @lafemmecosmique, Perhaps you want to ask a separate question. I'm not sure what's the difference between not needing a visa and not technically 'needing' one. – ugoren Feb 21 '18 at 15:32
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Yes, they are more strict, but not often.

I have reproducibly situations where the airlines are stricter than required; for example try to fly from the US to Germany: a German ID card (Personalausweis) is absolutely sufficient to enter Germany, but the airline insists on a passport.

The other way around will be much more rare because the airline pays dearly for such errors.

  • The airline is insisting on a passport not because Germany requires it, but because the US needs to record your departure at check-in -- unlike most countries, there is no exit immigration. – jpatokal Feb 21 '18 at 10:48
  • In this case Timatic says a national ID card is enough. So relying on Timatic isn't bullet proof. – ugoren Feb 21 '18 at 15:37
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The answer to your first question is YES for two primary reasons:

  1. Airlines use Timatic to determine border eligibility before embarking passengers and, while rare, Timatic can be incorrect.
  2. The airline is not required to transport anyone and may, due to market or business conditions, choose to refuse transport to someone they feel is at risk of denied entry, despite having all necessary credentials.

However, it us universally expected that the airline will, provided Timatic is correct, merely follow the rules of the destination country. So, the answer to your second question is, yes, but it's so small as to not worry about it.

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    Actually, I would dispute point 2 - in the EU under EU261/2004, if you present at the check-in with proper and all the valid travel documents required for your trip (basically, you meet the requirements published in the airlines travel document database of choice), and the airline denies you boarding because they don't feel like carrying you, or they feel you might be denied entry for any other reason, then you are due some pretty decent compensation as you have met your obligations to the airline. – Moo Feb 21 '18 at 1:22
  • I don't agree with such dispute. The EU261/2004 allows airlines to be stricter: it has just " inadequate travel documentation". Airlines cannot enter in the mind of immigration officers. On case: you doesn't have any document, but you are citizen of destination country. But in general for all cases you cannot show to airline some document (and airline usually cannot check online) [e.g. a visa which is not printed in your passport] – Giacomo Catenazzi Feb 21 '18 at 9:38
  • No, they don't have to take you anywhere and the risk of losing a compensation claim is CODB. Marilyn Hartman could show up on time with a brand new Passport and Completely valid Visa and she's probably not going anywhere. – Johns-305 Feb 21 '18 at 11:55

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