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"six month" passport rule

Ann Arbor
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"six month" passport rule

My family recentlyhad a horrible experience on a planned trip to Israel. We were not allowed to board the plane in Detroit because my son's passport (13 years old) was valid 'only' until November. Even though we have flown to Israel and other places on numerous occasions, we were not aware of a rule that many countries have which requires that travellers' passports be valid for at least six months beyond the date of travel.

Not only did we lose $thousands, but the emotional impact on us and our family in Israel was devastating. In browsing the web, I have seen many many reports of similar disastrous situations.

My question to the list - especially to legal experts: is it appropriate for the airline to in essence serve as the "border guards" of a foreign nation, while denying a US citizent the right to travel on a valid passport? I understand that the airlines face a possible fine (at least this is what I was told) if they allow a passenger to board with less than six months left on their passport.

But if the airline presumes the authority to prevent a citizen from traveling on a valid passport, do they not also have the responsiblity to clearly communicate this in advance to any passenger who is flying to a destination that is affected by the 6 month rule?

I can imagine that $millions are lost each year by passengers who are denied boarding due to the seemingly arbitrary enforcment of this rule. I am not a lawyer, but I see the potential for a class-action lawsuit against all the airlines that impose this restriction withour suffienct advance notice.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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1. Re: "six month" passport rule

The rule is not one made by the airline. It is made by the country you are entering.

It is up to you to learn the rules about international travel as the airline cannot counsel folks about entering each foreign country. They are not allowed to let folks on a plane if they think the destination country will send the person home because the passport is not valid for the amount of time required!

Romford, United...
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2. Re: "six month" passport rule

Ignorance of the rules are no excuse, yes they get fined not you-you won't get much tea and sympathy here

London
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for London
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3. Re: "six month" passport rule

>>> we were not aware of a rule that many countries have which requires that travellers' passports be valid for at least six months beyond the date of travel. <<<

>>> I see the potential for a class-action lawsuit against all the airlines that impose this restriction <<<

Which will fall at the first hurdle, in fact any self-respecting lawyer would advise you that you have no case. In law, ignorance is no defence.

Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
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4. Re: "six month" passport rule

The airlines ar enot acting as border guards, they are acting to protect themselves as it is the airline who will suffer financially if someone is denied entry when they arrive at immigration.

New York
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for Travel Gadgets and Gear
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5. Re: "six month" passport rule

It's your responsibility to make sure you meet the entry requirements of the country. The U.S. State Department has an easy to use website that gives the visa and passport requirements for U.S. citizens traveling abroad as well as any travel warnings. Just enter the country in the box:

travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html

Fredericia, Denmark
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6. Re: "six month" passport rule

Would you rather have been denied entry on arrival?

Lancashire, United...
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for Playa Blanca
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7. Re: "six month" passport rule

Not sure why you felt the need to post again when you've already had the 6 month rule reaffirmed to you.

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293977-i1733-k7…

It may have been a horrible experience, but it was of your own making. It's your own responsibility to check entry requirements (passport and visas) of any country you visit.

If an airline flies you, and you get denied entry, it's the airline that gets a very hefty fine!

10 seconds on google prior to booking would have saved you from your horrible experience.

Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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8. Re: "six month" passport rule

< Would you rather have been denied entry on arrival? >

And possibly jailed overnight before they throw you out

Admittedly this is an odd case - most people ask whether their soon to end passport will be acceptable in such and such a country

< do they not also have the responsiblity to clearly communicate this in advance to any passenger who is flying to a destination that is affected by the 6 month rule? >

No, they don't know what passports you hold nor what visas you might need if for some reason you cannot get a visa on entry.

Airlines are legally required to ensure that everyone they put on a plane has the right to enter the destination country - and possibly countries inbetween if there are connections to be made.

If they don't they get fined. If they get fined often enough then they will be barred from that country

< we were not aware of a rule that many countries have which requires that travellers' passports be valid for at least six months beyond the date of travel. >

Ignorance of the law is no excuse

Edited: 25 June 2014, 14:18
Liverpool, UK
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9. Re: "six month" passport rule

It's the passengers responsibility to ensure they have all the relevant paperwork to fly including a passport valid for the destinations and any visas etc. Not the responsibility of the airline who will properly deny passengers boarding if the paperwork is not in order.

tucson, az
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10. Re: "six month" passport rule

Chalk it up to one expensive life lesson.

I kind of feel sorry for the airlines in cases like this; they get the blame and anger.