URGENT U.S. travelers alert: Italy now requires six months validity of passports

italy us passport requirements changes monthsIt’s with no small amount of urgency that I’m posting today because it was only yesterday that I learned that Italy now requires that U.S. passports be valid for at least six months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.

This came to my attention because a person who was supposed to join our current Design and Wine Italy Tour was not allowed to board her flight on Friday of last week because her passport would have expired before the required six months from the date of her departure.

Until recently, only three months were required for Italy. I know this because I renewed my passport earlier this year and had been reading up on travel requirements.

The U.S. State Department page devoted to Italy travel requirements was updated on January 22, 2016. So the change must have been made at some point between December of last year and January of this year (because I remember clearly checking up on requirements in December of last year).

France also now requires six months (State Department page updated February 29, 2016).

Germany still requires three months (last updated February 2015).

Our traveling companion reached us yesterday after expediting the renewal of her passport on Monday.

But she told me that when she visited her passport office, the agent who helped her was unaware of the change and only after researching the issue did he confirm that six months are now required.

Read more about the Schengen Agreement and its history here on the Wiki.

U.S. wine professionals: be sure to check up on your passport expiration before you head to Italy!

14 thoughts on “URGENT U.S. travelers alert: Italy now requires six months validity of passports

  1. Adesso scrivo al presidente della Repubblica perché dia la cittadinanza onoraria italiana a te Jeremy per merito 😃

    • Actually, for Italy, it was three months until just recently. I know this because I was dealing with this very issue as my passport was about to expire and I had to time the renewal to align with my many trips to Italy.

      • What’s new is that the State Dept. website now says that the passport must be valid for 6 months FOLLOWING THE DEPARTURE DATE FROM THE SCHENGEN AREA. As opposed to 6 months from the date of ENTERING the Schengen zone. With a short trip this wouldn’t really make a difference in most cases, but in any event, I think the State Dept info may be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  2. “France also now requires six months ” No, it’s still 3 months from date of planned departure. The State Dept. web site says 6 months from date of entry, but I’m not sure that’s accurate. Last year my wife and I entered France with less than 6 months left on our passports.

  3. Out of curiosity I just looked at some info regarding Schengen and passports, and it seems to be questionable whether Italy in fact requires passport validity for 6 months after planned departure, as opposed to 6 months after arrival. The Schengen agreement requires that passports be valid for 3 months following the planned departure date, which would normally be the date of a return ticket. However, apparently some countries assume that a person will stay the full 90 days permitted by Schengen, which then means that the passport must be valid for 6 months after the date of arrival. But not 6 months after the planned departure.

  4. I really appreciate all the people commenting here and telling me that I’m wrong.

    I can tell you with certainty that until recently, the requirement was three months. Now it is six months.

    The sole purpose of this post is to help other travelers avoid the inconvenience of being turned back at the airport. I nearly fell into the same mishap myself. And my fellow traveler was, in fact, turned back.

    It’s never a bad idea to renew your passport early.

    Dindo, thanks for the kind words.

  5. My cituation is: I have an Italian passport only(I’m a legal resident) I plan to go to Italy in August for 2 weeks, I want to take my 14year old grandson. His passport is expired and we were in the process of renewing it, does this mean he can’t travel to Italy because it wouldn’t have been 6mon?

  6. Again, the issue that I’m addressing is that the requirement has changed from 3 to 6 months. That’s it. I wasn’t aware of this until it was brought to my attention by one of the guests on this trip. I believe that many travelers — even frequent travelers — were not aware of this and I wanted to share the information here.

    And nota bene: neither my blog nor the comment thread offer authoritative information on travel or passport requirements. Please check with the U.S. State Department and/or your Passport office for official travel information.

    The bottom line is that it’s never a bad idea to renew your passport early.

    • I’d probably trust your blog as much or more than I’d trust the State Dept. web site. For example, I’m pretty sure they’re wrong about the France passport timing.

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