We recently read about this travel disaster: A Canadian couple with two children landed in Costa Rica only to be put immediately on a return flight because their presumably valid passports were due to expire in less than three months, which made the passports invalid according to Costa Rican laws.Â
A staggeringly long list of people should have informed the travelers of the problem, including their own travel agent and the airline representatives who let the family travel from Syracuse to Chicago before boarding their flight to Costa Rica. Â The airline this family flew – United – reportedly faces a hefty fine from the Costa Rican government for bringing passengers with invalid documents into the country, but that won’t help this family recover their expenses.
Travel insurance can’t help them recover their pre-paid travel costs or the unexpected costs they had to pay either.Â Even though their passports were valid, it’s the responsibility of the travelers to know the passport rules of the country they are visiting.
Many countries have similar passport validity requirements on foreign passports. In fact, in some countries the requirement can be as high as six months. Visitors to some countries (Canada and Australia included) are only required to have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay.
Entry requirements for each country can usually be found with a search on the Internet.