Is your passport due to expire within the next 6 months to a year? While you may not feel like shelling out the extra cash for a new one, it’s still a good idea to go ahead and get it renewed. In many cases, a passport with an expiration date 6 months or less in the future is almost as useless as one that’s expired.
Consider, for instance, the case of Charles Herman. According to the Chicago Tribune, he attended a friend’s wedding last year in Uganda. Before he went, he researched the country’s visa requirements at the US State Department’s website. His passport was good for just a little less than 6 months, and the Department of State website said that it only needed to be good for 3 months.
However,when he tried to board his flight, he was told by the airline that he needed to have at least 6 months left on his passport, not three. Instead of letting him get on the flight to Uganda, the airline made him fly into Kenya instead, at an additional cost of $855.66.
Yikes! The airline then refused to refund the price difference, even after Mr. Herman referred them to the incorrect information on the Department of State’s website (which has since been corrected.)
The moral of the story, according to Steve Lott, a spokesman for the IATA, is to check multiple sources for your travel requirements. Mr. Lott told the Tribune:
“If there’s a dispute, if you get mixed messages or mixed information, the ultimate authority here is the country you’re going to,” Lott said. “Make sure you get something in writing, and make sure you cross reference with your airline.”
One way to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you is to renew your passport more than 6 months before it expires. Of course, it’s easy for your passport expiration date to creep up on you, and it can take up to 3 weeks to get your new passport back in the mail even if you apply for expedited service.
Using a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport is the way to go if you need to get your passport renewed in a hurry and you want to avoid the hassle of making an appointment and driving to a Regional Passport Agency office. We hand-deliver your application to the Department of State, so you can renew your passport in as little as 24 hours!