When To Renew Your Passport (It's Not What You Think!) - Brownell Travel

When To Renew Your Passport (It’s Not What You Think!)


You’ve booked an amazing trip to Italy with your girlfriends. Months of planning and research have gone into the trip. From finding the best restaurants to shopping for the perfect outfits, you and your crew have covered all your bases, and you’re ready to go! But then something happens. Your friend cannot check in at the airport.

“Your passport is the issue,” says the airport employee. She frantically thumbs through to show that her passport is in fact valid. It is July, and it does not expire until September. The employee shakes his head, “No.” Little did anyone realize, the passport must be valid three months after the date of departure when traveling to Italy.

Don’t get caught in a situation like this! Our rule of thumb is to renew your passport within 6 months of expiration. Here are a few tips for each continent about when to renew your passport. But these rules change, so be on the safe side, and look at the State Department’s website for information about each specific country when you are planning to travel outside the US. (See exactly where to look on the image at the bottom of the post.)


26 European countries that are a part of the Schengen Agreement require that passports be valid 3 months after date of departure. Note that the United Kingdom is not a part of this group, and your passport just needs to be valid throughout the duration of your visit. Russia requires that passports be valid 6 months beyond departure as well as a tourist visa.


Many countries in Asia require that your passport be valid within 6 months of your departure date. Thailand, China, Vietnam, French Polynesia all fall under the 6 month requirement.

South America

Most South American countries do not have passport stipulations. Brazil, Ecuador (which would include the Galapagos Islands), and Venezuela do require passports to be valid 6 months after though.


Headed to Africa for a safari? Many African countries require your passport be valid for 6 months after departure, like Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. South Africa, however, does not.


Many islands in the Caribbean do not have requirements, but, of course, there are several exceptions. Antigua and Barbuda require your passport be valid 90 days after your departure. The French West Indies (St. Martin, St. Barth, Guadeloupe, and Martinique) and St. Lucia fall under the 6 month requirement.

Middle East

Most countries in the Middle East fall under the 6 month requirement, including Turkey, Jordan, and the UAE.

In addition to the passport requirements, some countries require a tourist visa as well. Research your destination’s requirements on the State Department’s website well before your departure date to avoid any surprises!


The red arrow show where to search for your specific destination.