I've heard that when travelling to the USA your passport must not expire within 6 months of travelling. Is this the case if you have a valid ESTA visa waiver program authorization from a previous visit? I visited the USA last year under the visa waiver program but now that I've run out of Reese's Pieces I'm coming back for more! I'm travelling in September but my passport expires in November. My ESTA autorisation from last year is valid until the date of my passport expiry.

I can't say that I've noticed anything on the ESTA website about passports not expiring within 6 months but after a 12 hour flight I don't want to leave anything to chance.

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    Six months before expiry is the standard passport requirement for most places. Some countries may require different but I don't think I've visited one. I think I'm at 25 or so countries now. I don't expect your visa waiver to make a difference but I've not heard of ESTA before. Jul 8, 2011 at 11:51

1 Answer 1


As far as I understand, the rule that the passport must be valid for 6 months after departure is unrelated to the visa requirement. The ESTA itself is valid until the last day of validity of your passport, or up to 2 years if that comes up first. The passport, whether it's associated with a visa or with an ESTA, must be valid for an extra 6 months after you exit the US, unless it is issued by one of the many exempt countries. Almost all ESTA countries are exempt.

Check with your US embassy to make sure.

  • Thanks for the info. I'll check with the local US consulate and update when I've got confirmation. Jul 12, 2011 at 7:40
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    My country (New Zealand) was on the list of exempt countries. Also, this statement on the US Diplomatic Mission to NZ website confirms that my passport does not need to be valid for 6 months after departure from the US. Jul 12, 2011 at 7:54
  • @phoog What part is incorrect? I do list to the list of countries with a waiver for the 6 months rule and state that most VWP countries are exempt, so I wonder what you're disputing. Dec 2, 2017 at 21:59
  • @Gilles sorry. I posted my comment too hastily. If I were you I'd mention the exception (which by its prevalence is arguably the rule) earlier.
    – phoog
    Dec 2, 2017 at 22:02

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