Given the numerous things an employee and family must consider when preparing for an overseas assignment, it’s not unusual that having valid passports is of utmost concern.  However, the validity of an assignee’s and accompanying family member’s passports should be one of the primary considerations when initiating any immigration process.

Employees considering multiple business trips should bear in mind different consular posts may have specific passport validity requirements.  For instance, the 25 Schengen Area-member countries have the following, general requirements for business and tourist visa applications:

  • Passports must be valid exceeding the intended stay by at least three months;
  • Passports must have at least two, blank visa pages (this does not include amendments/endorsement pages);
  • Passports must be issued within the past 10 years.

Whereas, in the U.S., some Brazilian consular posts require passports must be valid for at least six months at the time a visa application is filed and have at least one blank visa page.

For long-term assignments, it is best practice to ensure that an assignee’s and accompanying family member’s passports are valid for the maximum, intended duration of stay in the host country.

If there is a chance that an assignment could last up to three years (i.e., 36 months), it is best for the assignee and family to confirm that their passports are valid for at least the next 40-45 months (the additional four to five months is to cover the work and residence permit application processing times).  Also, passports having lengthy validity periods will avoid costly and lengthy renewal of passports in the host country and the re-endorsing host country visas in new passports.

When filing work and residence permit applications, passport validity can directly affect the duration of stay granted for long-term work/residence permits.  In Germany, assignees requesting three-year work permits must have a passport valid for at least three years at the time the work permit is approved.  Passports valid for less time will result in reduced validity of the work permit.  In many countries, residence permits/visas will be granted only for the validity of the passport.

Best Practice Tip:  When deciding what’s key to initiating an overseas business trip or long-term assignment, always check first the passport validity requirements for the intended host destination countries!