The lowdown on passport validity

By Megan Singleton

Editor's note: There were some errors in the original version of this article, which have now been corrected. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Your passport expiry date could ruin that holiday, says Megan Singleton.

Some countries won't let you travel if your passport is too close to its expiry date. Photo / Thinkstock
Some countries won't let you travel if your passport is too close to its expiry date. Photo / Thinkstock

Last year, our friends were booked to take a family holiday to Vanuatu and stayed at ours in Auckland the night before their flight.

The next day we got a phone call from the airport: Dad's passport had less than six months' validity and they were refused entry.

After many phone calls and anticipation turning to desperation, they managed to change their plans and scoot to Sydney - sans snorkels and masks.

Here is a list of countries that require from one to six months' validity on your passport for entry.

Bring back the 10-year lifespan I say.

1. Visitors to the USA are generally required to have six months' validity on their passports beyond their intended period of stay, however New Zealand passport holders are among those exempt from that requirement. They do, however, require a valid ESTA visa waiver which needs to be renewed online every two years and costs US$14 ($16).

Click here for my blog about it so you don't get ripped off by a bogus site like my dad did!

2. Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines and Thailand require six months' validity after your holiday ends. The Cook Islands also requires most passport holders to have six months' validity on their passports, however holders of Australian and New Zealand passports can travel with just seven days' validity beyond their intended period of stay.

3. New Caledonia, Tahiti, France, Italy, Germany and Greece require at least three months' validity remaining at the end of your stay.

4. In South Africa and Hong Kong only one month's validity is required.

5. Even New Zealand requires visitors to have three months' validity after the date of their departure.

So the bottom line is it's pretty much only Australia, the UK and Canada that allow you entry with a passport valid simply for the duration of your stay.

Imagine the stink if your gym refused you entry weeks before your membership expired. It seems crazy that if you have return tickets booked before your passport expires, you are not free to travel.

What do you think? Drop us a line at

For more from Megan, see

- NZ Herald

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