How do I renew a passport that will expire while I am away?
Question: I plan on being abroad when my passport is set to expire. How far in advance can I renew my passport? Or do I have to fly back to the US in order to renew it and then fly out again?
Answer: You can renew your passport whenever you wish. However, you will lose the remaining validity in it. If you request the renewal more than 1 year prior to the expiration date, then you should include a letter as to why you are submitting the application so early.
One thing you need to consider is the remaining validity in relation to your destination. While some countries such as Mexico and Canada allow visitors to enter up to the date of expiration, many other do not. European countries that are party to the Schengen Agreement require at least 3 months validity beyond your stay. Many countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East and South America require at least 6 months validity. If your passport does not have sufficient validity, you will not be allowed to embark. You are encouraged to check the foreign entry requirements for your planned destination.