Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Is Your Passport Valid for Caribbean Travel - Maybe Not!

A couple of nights ago received an e-mail from a long time blog subscriber inquiring about the 3-6 month validity rule in regards to traveling on their U.S. passports

What's the validity rule you may ask - read on . . . 

Here's the senario
Family of six books hotel in the Cayman Islands without knowledge there is a 6 month passport validity rule for U.S. citizens to enter the country. 

The entire family had passports issued at the same time, and within 5 months all of their passports will expire. The family is on a tight travel budget, and paying for six passports that have not yet expired is not a budget option. The kids are out of school during this period, and the parents vacation dates are set. 

What to do
The travel dates are in April, and only lodging was booked. When contacting the airlines is when the validity rule was discussed by the agent. It's great the agent caught this as I have heard stories of travelers actually reaching their destination only to be denied entry. Other travelers have gained entry, however it was a very trying situation with customs officials. 

The father was not sure the agent had correct info, and this is when he contacted me. After discussing the issue back and forth, he notified the property owner to cancel the reservation, and the owner was nice enough to return the deposit with no penalty as several inquires have been received for the same dates. 

Then the vacation choices boiled down to vacationing in the U.S., or visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico which both accept a raised-seal birth certificate and government-issued photo ID for entry. Also they can all travel on their current passports as the dates are still valid within a U.S. territory or commonwealth. Today they decided on Puerto Rico, and air and lodging reservations have been made. 

Many travelers are NOT aware that some countries have a 3 or 6 month validity passport rule. 

Your U.S. passport should be valid for more than three or six months BEFORE YOU ENTER some foreign countries. Each country makes its own entry requirement rules, and these rules sometimes change. 

Some Caribbean islands with the six month passport validity rule for U.S. travelers are Anguilla, Antigua/Barbuda, the Bahamas, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts/Nevis, and St Lucia. Trinidad and Tobago required a 3 month validity rule. 

This passport rule for U.S. travelers applies to many countries around the globe. Please investigate the passport validity rules before you make travel arrangements to any foreign country! 

Happy Travels,

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