Question: When is a valid passport not a valid passport?

As the Washington Post warns travelers in this article, even if your passport is valid, you may not be able to travel with it. That’s because some countries require that your passport be valid for a certain number of months into the future, even if you plan to return to the US before your expiration date.

For example, the Washington Post describes the unfortunate situation that happened to Indiana grad student Kyle Lenz. The poor guy booked a trip to Quito, Ecuador, to attend his best friend’s wedding. He checked his passport expiration date, but unfortunately, he didn’t check Ecuador’s entry requirements. The country requires that US citizens have a passport that will be valid for at least the next 6 months before they can enter the country. Mr. Lenz was turned away, and the wedding went on without him.

To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, check your destination country’s travel requirements at the US Department of State’s website.  What if you find out you need your US passport renewal processed at the last minute?  With current processing times, it’s taking at least 6 weeks for passport applications to be processed with normal processing. Even if you choose the government’s expedited service, your US passport renewal may take 3 weeks or longer to go through.

If you need your US passport renewal processed quickly, the easiest thing to do is to submit it using a private passport expediting company. An expediting company makes things easier by helping you with the paperwork to prevent mistakes on your application that could increase processing time.  Then, they’ll forward the application to the Department of State by hand for priority processing. With an expediting company, your passport renewal could be completed in as little as 24 hours!

Don’t let what happened to Kyle Lenz happen to you-apply for your US passport renewal today!