My sister has tickets to visit me in Sweden from the USA in a few weeks and has just realized that her passport expires in March 2017. Schengen laws require a passport has to be valid 3 months after departure date, which is fine for visiting Sweden, but she has to connect in the Netherlands at Schiphol airport, which requires at least 6-months validity.

From what I can find, it's the destination country that decides the validity, right? She isn't actually stopping in The Netherlands, only passing through the airport. Schiphol is listed as a Schengen airport, so which law trumps the other? We're trying to figure out if she needs to drive a whole day to get a 1-day passport renewal or if she'll be able to get through Schiphol into Sweden which accepts her passport without issue.

I appreciate anyone who can enlighten me further. Thanks!

  • 1
    She's not stopping in NL, but she will be clearing passport control there.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:34
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    What is your source for the Netherlands requiring 6 months of passport validity? That's not what the Schengen rules say. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:36
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    Would be interesting to know where the State Department got this info. As far as EU law is concerned, that's not up to either country, it's defined in the Schengen Borders Code, which, as an EU regulation, is directly binding for both Sweden and the Netherlands. From this perspective, neither are free to set their own rules and it does not make sense to ask which country's rules apply. And that's also why we struggle to give a staightforward answer!
    – Relaxed
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:41
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    @Relaxed the problem is that the US government has incorrect (perhaps outdated) information. It took a little doing to find the real information on an NL government site, but I did, and it specifies 3 months. The US also recommends six months (because of 90 days maximum stay + 3 months extra validity), so that could be another source of confusion.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:47
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    Just to clarify something: Your sister will be visiting The Netherlands. The in-Schengen part of the airport is not an international transfer area, rather it's like a domestic terminal at a US airport. Once she clears passport control at Schiphol, she will be in Dutch territory, and governed by Dutch laws and regulations. If there were anything that barred her entry to the Netherlands (which doesn't seem to be the case here), she wouldn't be able to transfer in Amsterdam.
    – Jsl
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


There will be no problem.

While the US Department of State claims that the Netherlands requires six months' validity, the actual requirement is three months:

That passport or travel document must cover your intended stay and remain valid for at least three months after your intended date of departure.

Source: http://www.the-netherlands.org/shared/products-and-services/products-and-services/schengen-visa/entering-the-netherlands-or-the-schengen-area-without-a-visa

  • Thanks! I'll tell her not to worry about renewing until she's back from the trip. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:47

Sweden and The Netherlands are both in the Schengen area and follow its common rules, the Schengen Borders Code, according to which the requirement a traveler must satisfy is that

(Art 6.1.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;

There doesn't seem to be any provision for the Netherlands to require a longer period of validity than these three months.

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