Most U.S. citizens believe they can hop on a plane or ship and go to another country as long as they have a valid passport. Most people may have gotten in without realizing their passport was checked the Six-Month Passport Validity Rule. So, what is the Six-Month Passport Validity Rule and does this rule affect U.S. citizens trying to enter another country?

Six-Month Passport Validity Rule for U.S. Citizens

The Six-Month Passport Validity Rule is a rule enforced by some countries to tourist entering the country for a short stay. Most countries recommend a tourist passport must have at least six months validity before it expires. Why six months? For many countries that require a visa, the visa issued is usually valid for thirty or sixty days. If you have an emergency while visiting and must remain longer than your visa requires, you will not have a problem to exit the country with a valid passport or reenter the U.S.

For other countries that require three-month validity, the visa issued will have a shorter stay applied to a tourist. Some countries wave the validity rule and allow a visitor to enter even if their passport expired. U.S. citizens can enter any U.S. territories without the use of a passport. A valid state-issued ID can be used as identification or a passport card. The most recognizable U.S. territories include Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Countries Where One, Three, or Six-Month Passport Validity Rule Applies

Many countries in the western hemisphere implement the Passport Validity Rule. Whether it is the three-month or six-month, you must know this information before making plans to visit. So, here is a breakdown by region of which country is implementing the six-month validity rule.

Region Countries

Central and South America

Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama**, Suriname, and Venezuela
Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago
Europe, Asia, and Middle East Albania**, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus**, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Croatia**, Hong Kong*,  Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan**, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau*, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, East Timor, Turkmenistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, West Bank/Gaza Strip and Yemen
Africa Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia

South Pacific

French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and New Zealand*

Schengen Treaty Countries

(Three-Month Validity Rule)

Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland

** Three-Month Rule, *One-Month Rule