Can You Travel With an Expired Passport?

Imagine pulling out your passport as you prepare to leave on a trip, only to find that it has already expired. You may wonder if you may travel with an expired passport as you race to figure out what to do. And the present passport processing times are among the longest in history. But, happily, we can still assist you in obtaining your passport quickly. If you have a trip coming up, you will need to renew your passport before you leave.

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As of July 1st, 2022, U.S. citizens will be unable to enter the country with an expired passport due to an upgrade to laws implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone traveling with an expired passport should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a new passport. If you're flying overseas, don't bother showing up at the airport without a legitimate passport. If you can't renew in time, rearrange your flight. However, many travelers can continue their passports using an expediting service such as

Americans who are now traveling overseas and whose passports expire on or after January 1st, 2020, could be permitted to return home using a passport that already expired until June 30th, 2022. There are requirements, so we advise Americans to check if they can travel with an expired passport. To extend the interim solution and make it easier for Americans to use some expiring passports to travel from abroad straight back to the United States, the Departments of State and Homeland Security worked with commercial airlines. This extension will ease the current travel issues caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.


Is it possible to travel with an expired passport?

The quick answer is "no," at least if you leave the country. A passport that has expired is not accepted for overseas travel. If your passport has expired or will expire within the next six months, you must renew it. That's a slightly trickier question to answer. A passport is not necessary to board a domestic flight, at least not yet. To pass through the TSA checkpoints, you must have acceptable identification. An expired passport isn't valid by definition.

However, if it's all you have, you should bring it with you if you're traveling within the United States. If you can persuade the TSA that you are who you claim to be, you may board a domestic flight without proper identification; an expired passport may be helpful. Just keep in mind that you are at the mercy of TSA officers.


Is it possible to travel to Mexico or Canada with an expired passport?

What about our friendly northern and southern neighbors? Previously, you could go to Canada and Mexico without having a current passport. However, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a law implemented in the aftermath of 9/11, changed everything. A valid passport book is now necessary for flying to either country or the Caribbean (except for the U.S. Virgin Islands).

However, land and sea travel requirements are a little more lenient. For passengers over the age of 16, any of the following documents will suffice:

  • A passport book in good condition.
  • A current passport card
  • and a better driver's license (currently offered in only a few states).
  • A card from Trusted Traveler (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST cards).

Meanwhile, children under the age of 16 and those under the age of 19 who travel with a school group, church organization, or another youth group can use a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. It's worth noting that an "expired passport" isn't listed as an accepted form of identification. It isn't allowed under the law. Here's when things get complicated: National laws do not demand it, so you may not be requested to provide a valid passport when entering Canada or Mexico by land or sea. When entering Canada or Mexico, you will return to the U.S. even if you aren't asked for one. Suppose you attempt to enter the United States with an expired passport. In that case, Customs and Border Patrol officials may request additional proof of your identity and citizenship before allowing you to re-enter the country.


What if you attempt to travel with an expired passport?

While at the airport

Regarding international flights: Do not pass go, and do not attempt to board your flight. You're unlikely to be admitted. If you make it on the plane, there's only one thing waiting for you when it lands: another flight back to the United States. Why put yourself through this?

Regarding domestic flights: If you have another valid government-issued picture I.D., utilize it. If your sole photo I.D. is an expired passport, carry whatever backup documentation you can find to confirm your identity and inform the TSA when you get to the checkpoint.


Traveling to Canada or Mexico by car

Allow additional time to cross, and be aware that the opposite country may refuse to let you in because you lack the necessary documents. When returning to the United States, be aware that you may be detained temporarily while verifying your identification and citizenship. Even if your passport is expired, there's no assurance you'll get through without incident.

Even better, get a fresh passport or passport card! Because it is the law, there is no justification for risking legal repercussions in the hopes of getting away with breaking it.


Why your passport might be due to expire sooner than you thought

Did you know that several nations demand you to have at least six months before your passport's expiration date to enter? If your passport is about to expire next year, check our list of passport validity requirements for popular destinations to see if you need to renew before you travel. Above all, don't let your holiday turn into a bureaucratic nightmare. Before you schedule your vacation, double-check the expiration date on your passport! Don't be concerned if you have a trip coming up and your passport is about to expire. You may renew your passport faster than you think!

The most convenient method is to utilize a private passport expediting business. Although the State Department provides emergency passport services at regional passport offices, using an expediter is frequently more expedient. No appointments or line-ups are necessary. You only need to complete the papers for your passport renewal. Then, mail it along with any relevant supporting documentation to the expediting business. For faster processing, the expediting provider will personally deliver it to the U.S. Department of State. When you're ready for your upcoming trip, your new passport might be back in your possession!

About This Author

Philip Diack is Founder and Managing Director of Passports and, a national passport and travel visa service with offices in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, NYC, Denver and San Francisco.

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