Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Can I visit the US with only six months remaining on my passport?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Tuesday 09 April 2013
Q. I am going to the US in late June. My current passport is valid until mid-December. Will it be OK to use this passport or should I get a new one?
A. Yes – and yes. Unlike many countries in the Americas, there is no need to have six months’ validity remaining before you go to the US. Having said that, assuming you don’t have extensive travels planned between now and June, you should certainly renew before you go. Any renewal within nine months of expiry (which yours is, just) earns full credit for unused time. So the new passport will be valid until mid-December 2023.
Assuming you are following the normal pattern for holidaymakers and business visitors to the US, you will need to apply for an ESTA (online permission to fly to the US). This is valid for two years, or to the date of expiry of your passport, whichever comes first.
I have just renewed my passport, due to expire in October, and it took two weeks. I recommend spending the extra £8.25 on the Post Office Check and Send service, to reduce the chance your application is rejected.
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