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I live in Sweden; I have an American friend, currently studying in the UK, who had planned to visit this weekend (returning to the UK directly afterwards).

Unfortunately, she noticed this week that her passport has only about 2 months validity left, so we are trying to work out what passport validity rules apply for US citizens visiting Sweden. A requirement of 3 months’ outstanding validity is mentioned in several places, e.g. here on the Swedish immigration agency website, but it’s not clear to us whether this applies only to travellers who need a visa to visit Schengen as a tourist (and so wouldn’t apply to US tourists). So I have two questions:

  1. What is the relevant passport validity restriction?

  2. If the 3 month rule applies, is this a strict requirement that’s always enforced, or just one that airline or immigration officials may require if they see other reasons to be concerned?

  • According to travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/… a US citizen’s passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay. – Traveller Mar 25 at 21:36
  • @Traveller: I saw that, but I haven’t found any European official sources at all that mention such a six month rule. – PLL Mar 25 at 21:44
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    @Traveller the US for some reason consistently misstates the Schengen passport validity requirements. – phoog Mar 25 at 21:58
  • What would be the turnaround time for an emergency request for a new passport at the American Embassy in London? – Andrew Lazarus Mar 26 at 18:19
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The relevant rule is article 6.1 of the Schengen Borders Code:

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;

(ii) [...]

(b)-(e) [...]

This is actual EU legislation. It leaves some room for border guards to declare that a "justified case of emergency" exists. However I would expect that to be an extremely uphill battle in case of a plain pleasure visit.

  • Thankyou! Right, that seems pretty unambiguous for both aspects of the question. – PLL Mar 25 at 21:48

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