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Passport Expiration Issues

THE LAW AND YOU

WRITTEN BY: Narisara P. Jongjarearn -Tasanont, Attorney at Law

Today I’d like to discuss the 6-month passport validity rule that is enforced in a lot of countries.  Thailand is one of those countries that require that you have a passport valid for more than 6 months upon your entry into Thailand.  Some people are confused about this rule and believe that they must have a passport for at least 6 months before they can travel.  That is not the case at all.  You can travel as soon as you get your passport.

This issue with the 6 month rule is that if your passport is going to expire in 6 months or less, then you may be prevented from boarding an airline if the country you plan on visiting has a 6 month rule.  If the airline doesn’t stop you from boarding the plane, the immigration at the country you visit may stop you from entering and send you right back to the U.S.A.  Countries with this rule in force include Thailand, Belgium, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and a few more.

Other countries have a 3-month rule, while still others require only that your passport be valid during your period of stay in their country.  U.S. citizens get a passport good for 10 years.  It is wise to keep track of the expiration date because it should be renewed by the time there is 8 months left to avoid being unable to travel.

The U.S. passport agency offers an expedited passport service.  But you will have to pay for that faster process and even still you may not get your passport in time because it will take up to 3 days and you must have an appointment.  If there is no appointment available that will increase your delay in getting a passport, unless you use the service of a private expediter.  In this situation be prepared to pay up to an additional $270 above the passport fee to get it done quickly.  Add to that 2 way overnight express delivery and it may end up costing you up to the price of a one-way ticket to Thailand.

Another thing to be aware of is that U.S. passports issued to children are good for only 5 years.  Some parents don’t notice that and then when they plan a trip they face a huge problem when they realize that their child’s passport has expired and then with trying to get another passport for the child.  For children, there is no renewal service.  The child must apply for a passport like it is a new application each time.

So it is always best to be prepared and be aware of your passport expiration date to save time and money and to make sure your vacation or travel plans are not ruined because of the passport rule.

U.S. Citizenship

If you or someone you know would like to become a U.S. citizen, please give us a call.  The Thai American Citizens Alliance , founded by Mrs. Rusmee Jongjarearn has proudly been helping people become U.S. citizens since 1995.  We are available 7 days a week so call us to make an appointment today.  For appointments call me at

323-704-6355 or 323-664-7131.

Narisara P. Jongjarearn-Tasanont works out of her law office in Los Angeles. She is the Executive Director of  the Thai American Citizens Alliance.  You can call her at 323-704-6355 to set up an appointment for a consultation to answer your immigration questions. The contents of this article are not intended as individualized legal advice

 

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