Can you travel on an expired passport?

Posted on 25/11/2014

Can you travel on an expired passport?

Can you travel on an expired passport?

Quite often the answer is no, but there are exceptions. If you are on a foreign passport travelling to your home country, an airline can, at their discretion carry you back home; Even if you need to transit, as long as you are “airside” and not entering another country.

You may be forgiven for thinking that if and when an airline does this, they are doing you a favour. But imagine this scenario; a passenger checks-in on an expired passport, the agent does not notice, or if they did, doesn’t mention it to the passenger. The passenger travels home completely oblivious of the fact that their passport has expired. When do you think they are going to notice? When they try to come back of course!

At the discretion of the airline, it may be fine to go home on an expired passport. The view of the immigration officer on arrival is that you are coming home and as such all you need to do is prove citizenship, which an expired passport does.

But on leaving, airlines have a responsibility to make sure that you have valid documents for entry to the country you are going to, if you don’t they won’t let you fly.

Most airlines have a policy that all your travel documents must be valid for the journey you are making – so most carriers will just point out that the passport has expired and suggest you get it renewed as soon as possible, and yes – miss your flight.

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