Traveling out of the country?

Traveling abroad can be an amazing experience for any number of reasons — experiencing new cultures, trying different foods, and learning a little something about each place you visit. The preparation for that travel, though, can sometimes seem a little daunting. How you can you be sure you’re ready to leave your home and country behind and set out across the sea?

To help you prepare for your out-of-country experience, we’ve prepared a short list of things to know about passports.

Is my passport still valid?

In some countries (including Italy and Greece)  a passport is accepted as valid if it still has at least 6 months left on it before it expires. Some countries accept passports as long as they are valid at your time of entry and throughout your stay (including the United Kingdom, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands). Here are some hard-and-fast passport validity rules:

  • Passports for persons 16+ are valid for 10 years.
  • Passports for persons under 16 are valid for 5 years.
  • Your expiration date is NOT the date that you can travel until. If you only have 1 month until expiration, you could and probably will be denied boarding for your flight or cruise.

To learn more about your own destination, be sure to check out the Country Information on Travel.State.Gov.

Should I renew my passport?

If your passport’s expiration window is drawing nearer, it is always a good idea to take care of it sooner rather than later. In order to renew your passport, it does not have to be expired — you can renew passports before they expire, as a way of staying ahead of the game and kicking back the expiration window.

If you need to renew your passport, visit Travel.Sate.Gov for details. You may be able to renew your passport by mail if certain requirements are met. Otherwise, you may need to apply for a renewal in person.

Do I need a passport to fly abroad?

Airlines may have different policies for valid passport expiration limits. Be sure to check with your airline to review international travel policies. Delta and American airlines recommend passports with at least 6 months left before the expiration date.

Citizens of the United States are not required to present a passport to enter U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. U.S. territories can be entered with a valid, government-issued ID.

To sum up:

  • You need a valid passport to fly anywhere internationally — anywhere.
  • When flying internationally, ALL passengers need a valid passport — including infants and young children.

Do I need a passport for a cruise?

Having a passport with you on a cruise takes the guess-work out of whether the birth certificate you are using is actually original or if it is, in fact, a hospital certificate, which can sometimes look more authentic than the birth certificate.

  • If you are cruising and need to be flown back into the States for any reason, you cannot do it without a valid passport.
  • If you are cruising from a US port and back to a US port, a passport is not required but HIGHLY recommended.

Travel.Sate.Gov is a great resource for ticking off the boxes for international travel.


What questions do you have about international travel?

Please ask us when we plan your next adventure!