Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Are our soon-to-expire passports valid for the US?
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Tuesday 13 August 2013
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?
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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