Traveling to the United States usually requires a valid passport and visa. If your visa is on an expired passport, you can still travel in an expired passport — as long as certain conditions are met. In this article, we explain more about which rules you must follow so that you can have a stress-free visit to the U.S. 

Rules for traveling to the U.S. on a valid visa with an expired passport

As long as you’ve already been issued a new passport, you can usually enter the U.S. with an expired passport and a valid visa. While this approach isn’t always guaranteed, if the visa stamp in your old passport is in good condition you will just have to show both passports at the U.S. port of entry in most cases. 

How long can you stay in the U.S. on a valid visa on an expired passport?

The U.S. Department of State determines the length of your allowed stay in the country at the port of entry. This shouldn't be confused with your visa's expiration date, which only determines how long your visa is valid.

Frequently asked questions

Will airline agents check my valid visa on an expired passport? 

Airline agents that issue boarding passes to passengers traveling to the U.S. usually check your visa and passport to ensure that foreign nationals are allowed to travel to the U.S. If you have a valid visa in an expired passport, they will likely ask you specific questions about your travel to the U.S.

Will the CBP officer inquire about my valid visa on an expired passport? 

U.S. Customers and Border Patrol (CBP) officers have the right to know about the validity of visas and passports, especially for visas in expired passports, so they may ask you several questions. Here are a few examples of what you can expect :

  • What is your current country of residence?
  • Where will you be traveling while you’re in the U.S.?
  • Why are you traveling to these locations?
  • How long do you intend to stay in the U.S.?

Based on your answers, the CBP officers reserve the right to deny or grant you entry after consulting with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and will determine how long you can stay in the U.S. if you are permitted to enter.

Provide accurate answers to the best of your knowledge. Inaccurate or deliberately false answers may jeopardize your chance of being granted entry to the U.S.

Should I be worried about traveling to the U.S. with a valid visa on an expired passport? 

At the time of writing, foreign travelers are allowed to travel to the U.S. with a valid visa in an expired passport. As long as you meet the following conditions, there’s usually no reason to be concerned.

  • Valid visa in acceptable condition
  • Newly-issued, non-expired passport
  • An expired passport containing the valid visa stamp
  • Accurate, consistent answers to the CBP officer

How do I know if my passport has expired? 

The first page of your passport typically contains a signature and expiration date under your personal details. In most countries, the validity of a passport is 10 years.

When should I apply for a new passport? 

Apply for a new passport before your current one expires. It can take weeks to months to receive a new passport in many countries, so try to apply for a new passport several months before your intended travel to the U.S.

Where can I apply for a new passport? 

You can apply for a new passport at the nearest embassy of your home country. You may then be required to fill out forms and provide supporting documentation, such as a new photo, biometrics (fingerprints) and more, depending on your home country.

You may also have to pay processing fees. Every country has a different processing time for passports, but, the average processing time is usually 8 weeks.

How do I know if my visa is valid? 

The validity of your visa is based on the “expiration date” indicated on the visa stamp in your passport, which is usually found next to the “issue date.”

The takeaway

For more resources on how to navigate your new life in the U.S., visit Nova Credit’s resource library where you can learn about everything from renting an apartment to finding the best credit cards for noncitizens.