PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Are you planning to travel out of the country anytime soon? Well you better check your passport. Even if it’s valid, some countries are requiring more than just that! 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan explains.
Clark and Jill Soderlund spent a year planning a European vacation. including a stop in France to see the Monaco Grand Prix. Clark says, “It’s sort of a bucket list thing.”
On the day of the trip they took a picture outside the airport. But at check-in everything changed. Clark says, “Get up to the gate agent, and she just looks at our passport starts shaking her head.”
The problem? The Soderlunds were traveling in late May and returning the first week of June. Their passports weren’t expiring until late August, but many countries in Europe require passports to be valid up to six months beyond your return date. It was a shock to the Soderlunds. Clark says, “It was like being punched in the gut.”
Travel experts like Johnny Discala who operates under the name Johnny Jet says countries do this in case of an unexpected stay. According to Discala, “Let’s say you’re in an accident and all of a sudden you’re in a hospital for a few months. They don’t want to deal with someone who doesn’t have a valid passport.”
Getting a passport renewed can take eight days. The Soderlunds got lucky. They went to their local passport agency and were able to get a new one in just a few hours. The airline got them on a plane to France the next morning, just enough time to make the Grand Prix in Monaco.
By the way, the State Department’s U.S. passport site lets travelers enter their international destination so they can find out how long their passport needs to be valid for. Visit: www.Travel.State.gov