When it comes to getting a passport, there can be a lot of red tape, which is why I devote so much of my time to helping people with getting a second citizenship. Second citizenships allow nomads and entrepreneurs to exercise more of their economic potential. Although reaching that point can often be an uphill battle.
Depending on the country, you may have to prove ancestral ties or live there for more than a decade, and you’ll need to spend plenty of time filling out paperwork, going to appointments, paying fees, and waiting for processing. However, even after you take care of everything that goes into getting a second passport, you might have to renew it sometime in the near future. So, you might be wondering, “how long is my passport good for?”
If you’re a globally mobile digital nomad, entrepreneur, or investor then keeping track of long-term deadlines can be difficult with your busy schedule. There are so many things to keep in mind that some things simply fall through the cracks. So, when clients have questions, we’re keen to set the record straight. After all, getting a passport is pertinent, especially if you have a family that includes several people.
Those looking for the short answer will be happy to know that an adult US passport lasts for ten years. Although the point of this article is to provide a more in-depth look at these documents. I wanted to share my research on passports from countries around the world for you to benefit from. We’ll look at the validity periods of passport, as well as, the difference between an adult and a child’s passport. Also, we’ll touch on passport books or booklets versus cards.
Which are the best second passports?
If you are looking to apply for another passport, you can organize it to fit the same expiration date as your current one. After all, the paperwork and effort that goes into getting a passport can be a real hassle. Killing two birds with one stone might be a good idea for individuals looking to go offshore soon or simply stay offshore.
Before you fill out the paperwork for the first warm country that comes to mind, be sure to read through Nomad’s 2019 Passport Index. Our index provides a score for each country and a helpful analysis of the best passports around the globe. You can also have a peek at our article on Which Countries Allow Dual Citizenship in 2019? This article will be convenient for those who are hoping to start collecting passports.
Passports Around the World
The US started issuing biometric passports in 2007. These include chips coded with information that help identify people such as fingerprints and eye scans. Regular passports are issuable to both US citizens and US nationals.
Citizens from the age of 15 and under must renew their passport every five years. Whereas, people aged 16 and up only have to renew every ten years. These books are valid for all types of travel including international travel and travel by land, sea, or air.
US passport cards cost less than books and can fit into your wallet. However, they don’t allow for the same kinds of travel. You can only cross borders between Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda with a card. An adult card expires after ten years. A child’s passport card expires after five years.
If you are looking to renew a passport book or card, you must do so nine months before its expiry date. You can renew your document by mail if it’s still in your current name, if it was issued less than fifteen years ago, or if you were 16 or older when you received it. Applying for a new document in person is necessary if:
- This is your first one
- The previous passport got lost or damaged
- Your passport was issued over fifteen years ago
- Your legal name has changed, but you have no supporting documents
- It’s for a minor under the age of 16
Routine service takes about 4-6 weeks after filing to receive your passport book or card. Expedited service takes only 2-3 weeks. In emergency situations, you can receive your document within 8 days at specified agency locations.
Today, there are several different types of passports that Canada offers. The three most common types are the Regular version, the Temporary version, and the ePassport.
The Regular version is valid for all types of travel. Adult documents (16 and older) have a validity of five or ten years. Child passports (15 and under) are valid for up to five years. Temporary passports are valid for only six months to a year. As their name suggests, they are only to be used temporarily while a Regular version is being processed.
All Canadian passports released from 2013 onward are ePassports. These travel documents contain thirty-six pages and an electronic chip encoded with the document holder’s biometric data. ePassports can be valid for five or ten years. However, a child’s passport will still only be valid for five years.
Candian passports must be valid for three to six months after entering the country. Should you need to renew, there is a streamlined process available to Candian citizens on the government’s website. The processing time is normally about 20 working days after submitting all documents.
After Brexit, plans have come up to completely the UK passport in October of this year. The latest British passport came out in March 2019 and lacked any reference to the European Union whatsoever.
Since the British commonwealth stretches far and wide, there are an array of people eligible for a British passport. Citizens of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Overseas Territories, and all British subjects have the right to a UK passport. Although the issuing authority of this document also depends on where these individuals are located.
British passports have similar validity periods. An adult passport (16 or older) is valid for ten years. A child’s passport (15 or under) is valid for five years.
Depending on where you travel, there are different accepted validity periods for British passports. If you are traveling to the EU and there’s no Brexit deal, your travel document will have to be valid for six months after entering the country. It must also be less than 10 years old. Brits looking to renew their passports can do so online or via mail.
The Irish passport denotes both Irish citizenship and EU citizenship. These harp-bearing passports became biometric in 2006. Their color changing ink and UV light revealing fibers make them very hard to forge.
Irish passport booklets are suitable for all types of travel. An adult passport booklet is valid for ten years. A child’s passport booklet is valid for only five years.
In 2015, the Republic of Ireland introduced its passport card. This card is biometric, machine-readable and can be used to travel within the EU, Switzerland and some countries outside of the EEA. This wallet-sized document has a validity period of five years or less. The expiration date may be the same as that of the passport booklet if it’s five years or less.
Within the EU, you can continue to use your Irish passport up until its expiration date. If you are traveling outside of the EU, you will likely need a minimum validity period of six months. Irish citizens can renew their passport online with the online renewal service.
Australian passports all have a built-in chip that stores biometric data. In fact, they were one of the first five countries in the world to switch to biometric travel documents.
The Standard Australian passport is suitable for all types of travel, such as business or leisure. Adult passports expire after ten years. Children’s documents only have a validity of five years.
Australia used to offer a Frequent Flyer Passport for business people. They stopped issuing those in 2017; however, existing travel documents are still valid until they expire. Frequent travelers can still apply for a replacement document if their passport gets filled up but is still valid for two or more years.
The Australian government recommends renewing passports nine months before their expiration. Most governments require a minimum validity period of 6 months to enter the country. Renewing or replacing an Australian passport usually takes about 3 weeks.
The New Zealand passport was introduced in the early 20th century. At that time, each document was personally signed by the governor.
Nowadays, the passport is marked with the national plant, a silver fern. Around seventy-percent of the entire country’s population owns one. In 2005, they became biometric and more resistant to fraud with special security features.
From 2005 to 2015, the maximum validity period was only five years. However, a government-approved petition was able to help reinstate ten-year passports in the autumn of 2015. Adults have a validity period of ten years. Child passports are still only valid for five years.
Kiwis should renew their passports to maintain a validity period of six months after entering a country. To renew, you can simply apply through the onliner interface. The processing time is about 10 working days.
South African passports contain some advanced security features. Two of the main features are laser engraved photos and a seven-layer polycarbonate page. Although South Africa allows dual nationality, it’s illegal for an adult with South African citizenship to leave the country without a South African passport.
South Africa offers a variety of travel documents. A regular passport for adults is valid for all types of travel and can be issued to anyone 16 years and older. These documents last for ten years. Child passports, for people age 15 and under, are valid for only five years.
A Maxi passport is also available to frequent travelers. They offer more pages for globetrotters who need more space for stamps. However, they are only available to adults and expire after ten years.
South African passports must maintain a validity period of six months after entering a country. You can apply for renewal online. To record your biometric data, you can report to one of the verified centers listed on the government website.
German passports became biometric in 2005 and started carrying a contactless smartcard. However, children’s travel documents don’t contain any biometric data or reference to the European Union. Once a child turns twelve, they can apply for a regular passport.
Child’s passports are valid for six years. Adult documents have two different expiration dates. Individuals aged 23 and under only have a validity period of six years. Adult passports for individuals aged 24 and over are valid for ten years.
In exceptional cases, Germany permits its citizens to hold more than one German passport. For example, professionals who need to travel to countries with political disagreements and deny entry upon seeing particular stamps might find this useful. There is a maximum of ten allowed at a time with each subsequent version only being valid for six years.
Like many other EU countries, Germany recommends that you renew your passport and maintain at least 6 months of validity when traveling. You can apply for renewal in person or by mail. However, German citizens can no longer renew their passports in U.S. embassies.
The Belgian passport comes in three different languages: Dutch, French, and German. Of course, the order of the languages depends on the language of choice of the citizen. As is standard in the European Union, this travel document comes complete with a biometric chip.
Citizens of Belgium can choose between two formats for their Standard passport, 32-pages or 64-pages. The extended version is more than double the price but is available to adults and children alike. Frequent travelers may benefit from a travel document with more pages since they have to renew it less often.
A Belgian adult passport used to be valid for up to ten years. However, as of 2015, they are only valid for seven years. A child’s version, however, expires after five years. Belgium also offers temporary travel documents for special occasions.
Belgian passports should be valid for a minimum of 6 months after entering a country. Those looking to renew can do so by post or in person. Bear in mind that you can’t renew your passport at a Belgian consulate unless you are registered there.
What About Citizenship by Investment?
An alternate way to get a second passport is through a citizenship by investment program. For those who have the cash, investing in a country is a simple way to gain citizenship. This investment can happen in the form of buying property in said country. However, it is usually a monetary donation to the country that you will not get back.
The minimum amount for citizenship by investment ranges from $100,000 in Dominica to $730,000 in Malta. Countries which suffered or continue to suffer from economic hardship introduced these programs to boost the economy. Although there was controversy about this within the European Union back in 2014. That controversy led to some opportunities disappearing.
Where to invest?
Today, citizenship by investment programs are still very much alive. While they have decreased in number, countries in which you can make a sizeable donation or investment and gain citizenship and a passport still exist. Some of them include Caribbean countries such as:
- Saint Lucia (Validity period of five years for both adults and children.)
- Grenada (Validity period of five years for both adults and children.)
- Antigua and Barbuda (Validity period of ten years for adults and five years for children.)
- Dominica (Validity period of ten years for adults and five years for children.)
- Saint Kitts and Nevis (Validity period of ten years for adults and five years for children.)
Outside of the Caribbean, there are some other citizenship by investment countries which include:
- Malta (Validity period of ten years for adults and five years for children.)
- Cyprus (Validity period of ten years for adults and five years for children.)
- Montenegro (Validity period of ten years for adults and five years for children.)
- Moldova (Validity period of seven years for adults and four years for children under the age of seven.)
- Turkey (Validity period of ten years for adults and five years for children.)
- Comoros Islands (Validity period of five years for both adults and children.)
- Vanuatu (Validity period of five years for both adults and children.)
These twelve countries offer some of the more accessible programs for citizenship by investment. Although other countries offer schemes which grant you residency, they are also more complicated. Therefore, they may not give you the easy second passport you are searching for.
Final Thoughts on Passports
While it may be a lot of information to take in at once, knowing these time frames can be useful for busy nomads. Keeping your passport up-to-date and valid is essential to traveling legally. Your business opportunities shouldn’t suffer because of an expired passport.
Stay tuned for more of my question-answering articles. With this series, we hope to provide more information to our network of nomads. Diversifying doesn’t have to feel confusing or overwhelming. With our knowledge and expertise, we’re here to help you.