It is important, when travelling internationally, to make sure you have a valid passport. A passort, an internationally recognised document needed to prove the identity and nationality of the carrier, is needed to ever or leave nearly every foreign country. As of recently, a passport is needed for US citizens to enter Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Carribean. This is in the interest of international security. It is very easy to see if your passport is still valid. Just follow the steps below and happy travels.
The first thing to check is the date of expiration on the information page of your passport. Look to the right of your picture. The top line will be the type of passport (ussually a capital letter) to the left and passport number to the right, the line below it will be your surname (last name), the line below it will be your given names (first and middle), the line below it will be your nationality, the line below it will be your date of birth (DD Mon YYYY), the line below it will be your sex (M or F) to the left and Place of birth (State, Country) to the right, the line below it will be the date of issue (DD Mon YYYY) to the left and the issuing authority to the right, and the line below that is the date of expiration (DD Mon YYYY). Your personal information will be written in black and the information labels are in purple type.
Type Passport Number Surname Given Names Nationality Date if Birth Sex Place of Birth Date of Issue Authority Date of Expiration Amendments
As mentioned in the previous step, the date of expiration is written as the two digit day of the month, the first three letters of the month, and all for digits of the year. For example, if your passport expires on the 7th of March 2014, then under "date of expiration" you will see 07 Mar 2014.
Airlines are often required to only allow you to fly internationally if you passport is good for six months of travel from your departure date.
Check the condition of your passport. If it is damaged beyond reasonable wear or tear, then you may not be allowed to travel. You will need to replace your passport.
All of the information is your passport must still be accurate. If you look different than your passport picture or have had a sex change, your passport may not be accepted for travel. The exception here is having your name legally changed. US Passport Offices will no longer amend passports for name changes (for whatever reason), so these passports will instead have to be replaced. You have one year from the date of legal name change to have your passport changed to reflect this.
If you passport has been altered or diss-faced in any way it may be invalid. In this case, you will need to replace it to travel.
Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are travelling to regarding any specific requirements, such as needed visas.