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ROCKVILLE, Md., (WUSA) -- If you are planning a trip abroad, you may be surprised to learn that many countries require passports be valid six months beyond the date of return.

http://www.us-passport-service-guide.com/passport-expiration-faq.html.

You may not be allowed to board your plane if your destination is a country which follows the six month passport validity rule. Does yours meet that test?

While not all countries have this requirement, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your passport is within these limits.

So you might say your passport is not valid for 10 years, it is only valid for 9 years and 6 months or less! In fact the U.S.

Department of State suggests that you renew your passport 9 months before its expiration date. To check entry requirements by country go to:

http://www.us-passport-service-guide.com/foreign-entry-requirement.html

In addition, some countries require your passport have two to four blank visa/stamp pages.

If you don't meet the country's rules you may be denied access to the plane.

If you are traveling with children they must have valid papers.

All minors, regardless of age must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air.

Requirements for land or sea travel may differ. Information can be found at:

http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

http://travel.state.gov/passport/faq/faq_1741.html

The State Department's Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) provides information on conditions abroad that may affect your safety and security.

Country specific information, travel alerts, and travel warnings are available at

http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html

Written by:
Shirley Rooker, Director, WUSA 9 Call For Action
shirley@callforaction.org

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