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I've had this vacation planned for quite a few months. I knew that my passport expired this summer and didn't think anything of it since the trip is a couple months ahead, in April. However, just now when checking in on my flight to Amsterdam for tomorrow afternoon, I couldn't check in because my passport expires in less than 3 months. Is there any way I'm going to be able to go on this vacation tomorrow?

I'm supposed to leave on April 3rd. I have a return flight booked on April 10th. My passport expires June 30th.

I'm in the US.

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  • If you miss the first part of your flight your whole ticket is likely gone. Check this with your airline.
    – vasin1987
    Apr 4 at 17:34

3 Answers 3

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This is very much a long shot, but it might be possible. See https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast.html

It used to be the case that same- or next-day service was available to anyone who was traveling in the next few days, but now they say that this is for people with "life-or-death emergencies." Still, if you live close enough to a passport agency you should certainly give the "2-to-3 weeks" service a try.

Travel in Less Than 2-3 Weeks Urgent

Choose this service if you are traveling in less than 2-3 weeks.

If you have not applied, make an appointment online. Your appointment at a passport agency or center must within 14 calendar days of your international travel date.

If you have already applied, call us at 1-877-487-2778.

We cannot guarantee an appointment will be available.

In my experience, the passport was in fact available the next day, but if I recall correctly they offered to make it available the same day; I just declined that offer because I didn't need it so quickly.

Even if you can't get your passport in time to make your flight, you might get it quickly enough to leave a day or two later than planned and at least enjoy part of the trip.


P.S.

You wrote

I couldn't check in because my passport expires in less than 3 months.

This is true, but as stated it leaves room for misunderstanding the passport validity requirement. Since the requirement is frequently misunderstood, I will note it here for others who may be in a similar situation.

The requirement is for the passport to be valid for three months beyond the anticipated date of departure from the Schengen area. Since the anticipated departure is April 10th, your passport would need to be valid until July 10th or 11th -- I'm not certain how they calculate "three months" for this purpose.

Some people in this situation might therefore be able to squeeze in by rebooking the return flight for an earlier date, but this option isn't available to you because in your case the anticipated date of entry into the Schengen area is already less than three months before the passport expires.

(There is an additional requirement that the passport be less than ten years old on the date of entry. This generally doesn't affect US nationals because the US does not issue passports for longer than ten years, nor does it extend passport validity. Some countries do, however, notably including the UK.)

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    (+1) The UK practice of allowing for unspent time on passports to be added to the new passport when renewing ceased in Sep 2018
    – Traveller
    Apr 3 at 8:37
  • @Traveller thanks. I vaguely recalled hearing about that. But this applies only to the example of the UK -- other countries could still be doing it (or as far as I'm aware could still be extending passport validity after issue). Plus, for the next five years, there are still UK passport holders who will need to be aware of this, as a passport issued in August 2018 may expire as late as April 2029.
    – phoog
    Apr 3 at 10:46
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    @SpehroPefhany I suspect that most of these will be for reasons other than having a passport more than ten years old. I wonder how that 100+ per day figure compares to the proportion of travelers of other nationalities being turned away.
    – phoog
    Apr 4 at 7:39
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    @SpehroPefhany The UK media has been making a song and dance about this ever since Brexit. Clickbait headlines such as Barred from Europe: 2.4 million Brits caught in post-Brexit passport chaos appear frequently. The volume of UK to EU visits is huge eg 17.3m to Spain alone in 2023, 100+ a day being turned away is not a big deal statistically.
    – Traveller
    Apr 4 at 9:16
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    @Traveller my goodness. "Alongside nations such as Venezuela and Samoa" indeed.
    – phoog
    Apr 5 at 5:48
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Update:

I was able to take the trip by getting an in-person appointment at a passport agency. This wasn't easy since there isn't one close to where I live, but there was one near my connecting flight's airport.

The passport agency site does make it appear that you're only able to get that last minute passport if it's a life or death situation, but that was absolutely not the case for me or anyone else in the room. Everyone at the agency was remarkably kind and pleasant to deal with. The whole process was absolutely painless, except for the fact that I didn't sleep the night before in order to be an entirely different city for an 8:00 a.m. appointment.

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    Please accept the answer that helped you most, including your own, by clicking the tick mark next to it.
    – Willeke
    Apr 6 at 5:31
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I have a return flight booked on 4/10 [2024-04-10]. My passport expires 6/30 [2024-06-30].

Your passport should be valid until 2024-07-10 to fullfil the Schengen Border Code Article 6 (1)(a)(i) condition.

This doesn't look like a 'justified case of emergency' that would allow for an exception.

Is there any way I'm going to be able to go on this vacation tomorrow?
I couldn't check in because my passport expires in less than 3 months

If it is noticed (either by the airline or immigration) then you may be refused boarding or entry.

This would be the reason why the check in was not possible.

With your present passport, the trip is not possible.


Article 6 Schengen Border Code
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;
  • (ii) it shall have been issued within the previous 10 years;

...

...

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  • This does not answer the Is there a way? part of the question.
    – Willeke
    Apr 3 at 7:12
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    "If it is noticed (either by the airline or immigration) then you may be refused boarding or entry": it is probably worthwhile to add that the chance of it being noticed is going to be fairly high because the passport's expiration date will be scanned by the computer, which is surely programmed to flag passports that are expiring within six months, and, in the airline's case, probably compares the expiration date to the passenger's itinerary.
    – phoog
    Apr 3 at 8:07
  • @willeke It certainly does answer the question, "Is there a way?" He clearly says, "With your present passport, the trip is not possible." That is, his answer is no, there is no way. I can't say if this answer is correct or not, if there's some loophole, but he certainly did give an answer to the question. Sorry if you don't like the answer. Apr 4 at 15:45
  • @MarkDanielJohansen Hmm... the last 2 lines were added after he made that comment. It was a suggestion to make the answer a bit more clearer. Sometimes a second pair of eyes helps. Apr 4 at 16:54
  • @MarkDanielJohansen, I would have expected something like 'try to get an emergency passport' as the answer suggesting that had not been posted yet.
    – Willeke
    Apr 4 at 17:27

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