Planning a trip to Europe?

Better make sure your passport is valid for at least three months after your departure date. If it isn’t, you could get turned away.

A regulation that went into effect July 19,2013 requires non-EU nationals to present travel documents that are valid for at least three months after the departure date from the European country. That means that if you’re planning to return from your Spanish getaway on September 1st your passport needs to be valid until at least December 1st.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about this policy, you’re not alone. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), no official EU statements have been released to airlines notifying them of the changes and there’s been no word to passengers via diplomatic or official national websites.

However this lack of communication is bound to impact people’s travel plans. Even though airlines may let certain passengers onto flights, immigration will still consider them inadmissible if their documents don’t meet the new dates required. And there really is no faster way to ruin a vacation than to be denied entry into a country.

Beginning July 19th, the three-month beyond intended period of stay is effective in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. The policy is expected to comes into force sometime this fall in Denmark, Italy, Norway, Romania, and Switzerland. There is still no official response to when Croatia or Slovakia will be implementing the regulation.  Given the desire for tourists, France, Belgium and Sweden are allowing for some flexibility, while Austria doesn’t foresee major disruptions as the decision is upon discretion of its border police.

The three-month regulation does not apply to the United Kingdom or Ireland, as they are not part of the Schengen Agreement.