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Why do you need six-months validity on your passport?

Author: The Association of South African Travel Agents Updated: 09:31 28-08-2017

Those of you who’ve arrived at the airport check-in desk only to be given your marching orders because your passport has a validity of fewer than six months will be wondering where on earth the origins of this travel rule stem from. It’s a little silly have a passport for six months that cannot be used, isn’t it?

For those of us whose holiday plans have come to an abrupt halt as a result or are travelling soon and have just realised that they need to renew their passport tout suite,  the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) has this explanation to help you #TravelwithPeaceofMind…

It’s the law

Not all countries require passports to have a validity of six months or longer, but the majority do (including South Africa) so err on the side of caution and before you travel and double check your passport’s validity just in case.

You will find that you won’t even be allowed to board the flight because airlines will deny boarding to any travellers who do not carry the correct documentation.  And they are very strict about it. Don’t think because your passport has five months and three weeks validity that you will get away with it. You most certainly won’t.

Unfortunately as with anything, life happens when you’re travelling. Having a passport with an extended validity such as six-months ensures that in the event of any issues, the traveller will not get into trouble if they have to extend their trip and stay longer than anticipated.

So the reason is simple: Countries do not wish to be ‘saddled’ with someone who has overstayed their passport’s validity. ‘Overstayers’ will effectively be unable to travel and technically becomes that country’s responsibility to deport.

On top of this, you're also considered an ‘overstayer’, which is as you may have gathered is seen as a criminal offence, and very often countries will almost certainly not allow you from returning for a given timeframe.

It is up to each traveller to check the validity of their passport to travel, although travel agents typically also check this when you book through them. If you’re doing it yourself, understand that the validity applies for the entire duration of your holiday or business trip, not just your outgoing leg.


Just realised your passport needs to be renewed? Don’t sit in queues at Home Affairs!

You can do it almost entirely online and save hours.

What you need:

• Identity Document
• Two colour passport photos
• Finger prints will be taken

Cost: R400

Do you want to apply for a child passport?

What you need*:

• Your (parents’) ID and child's birth certificate
• 2 colour passport photos of the child
• Death certificate if one parent is deceased
• a copy of the Court's appointment letter, if you are the child's guardian

Cost: R400

Do you want a maxi-tourist passport?

What you need:

• Identity Document
• Two colour passport photos
• Fingerprints

Cost: R600

And now it’s just one click away!:

eHomeAffairs allows you to apply for your passport online <hyperlink>

What you can do online?

*There are special rules for children born out of wedlock, check out the Home Affairs website for more details.

** Make an appointment to visit the bank branch to capture your biometrics, but no appointment is required to visit any Home Affairs office.

Published: 12:45 25-08-2017

Posted by on August 25, 2017.

Categories: Flights, Travel

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Updated: 19:54 21-Apr-2018