Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Are our soon-to-expire passports valid for the US?

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Q We travel to America at the end of October this year. Our passports run out in March 2014. Will they be OK to travel with? I have checked loads of websites including the US border agency and they are all useless, none can tell me if we will be OK or not. What is the rule please?

Neil Houlston

A Relax: you need your passport to be valid only as long as the proposed duration of your stay. “You don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this,” confirms the Foreign Office.

However, were I in your position I would certainly renew my passport this month or next. You will get “full value”, with the remaining months credited, so that the new passports will be valid to March 2024. And since you will have to spend $14 (£9) applying for an Esta (electronic permission to enter the US), you might as well make full use of the two years that you are allowed under that scheme.

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