At 10:50 PM on Thursday night I received a call from one of our Experience Sicily consultation clients (A client who independently reserves their own trip with our advisement for route, hotels, guides, excursions, cooking classes, etc). Andrea and her husband were leaving at 5 PM on Friday, and she hadn’t looked at her passport until a few minutes before she called me. She realized it expired within two months, and wanted to know if she’d still be admitted into Italy at customs. Regretfully, the answer was, “No.” The European Union requires that Americans entering any country, including Italy, must have a passport that is valid for six months from the date of entry. What was she to do? Her flight was tomorrow!
Most airlines won’t let you on the plane, knowing that Italian customs will send you back. My advice: try to get an expedited renewed passport in the morning. I told her about Travisa in New York City, suggesting they may be able to help (for a few hundred dollars!). I went to bed and woke up, hoping for the best for Andrea. *sigh!*
At 1:10 PM on Friday, Andrea called me with good news. She stayed up scouring the internet for information and learned that there was a possibility that if she went to the Federal U.S. Passport Agency in Stamford, Conn. (She lives in Connecticut.), they may help her. Well, she was at that office at 9 AM when it opened, and they were able to process her new passport that morning. What a relief! Andrea got on her flight as scheduled! Phew!
Now, I don’t recommend you try this at home, but in the event that this happens to you, there are offices throughout the U.S. that if you have proof of immediate travel, they will expedite your renewal application. Here’s the link: U.S. Passport Agencies
The moral of this story: Look at the expiration date on your passport as soon as you decide to travel to Italy or abroad, and make sure you meet the requirements for entry!
I can’t wait to hear about Andrea’s Sicily adventure when she gets home next week–let’s keep the adventures for your trip!
(Drawing by Allison Scola; Photo by Giulia Feleppa)