Know Before You Go: Check Your Passport Expiration Date

Duke Chaplain’s passport struggles a cautionary tale for international travelers

-By Charles Givens

January 30, 2023

A checklist before flying internationally has the typical items: passport, luggage, tickets, location of the correct departing terminal and the complicated mathematics of factoring how soon to arrive at the airport. Joshua Salaam, Duke Chaplain and Director of the Center for Muslim Life, had checked every box before his international flight. Or so he thought.


Joshua’s role at Duke is to provide for the religious, cultural and social needs of the diverse Muslim student population on campus, and he had planned work-related meetings abroad. Like any seasoned traveler, Salaam arrived several hours early to Raleigh-Durham International Airport for a flight bound for Oman. When checking in to the self-service kiosk, he was told to see an agent at the check-in counter.

Joshua Salaam, Duke Chaplain and Director of the Center for Muslim Life (Photo courtesy of Joshua Salaam)

“When I went to the counter and provided my passport, the agent looked over everything and then said that I would not be traveling today,” said Salaam. “She printed out a policy that stated that my passport needed to be valid for at least six months for me to travel to most countries. At the time, my passport was going to expire in four months.”

Welcome sign at an entrance to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Salaam was not able to fly that day but was able to get his passport and travel arrangements sorted eventually, and he has some advice for future international travelers. “Put an alarm on your calendar at least nine months before your passport expires,” said Salaam. “This will give you enough time to file for a new passport the regular way which costs the least amount of money.”


While a passport might have an expiration date, travelers need to look at the specific month and year to make sure that it’s valid for when they travel. Joshua’s cautionary tale is a reminder to begin the process of renewing passports now if they expire in 2023. Rachel M. Arndt, the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, was quoted in a recent news article that the wait time for receiving a new passport is “six to nine weeks for routine [processing] and three to five weeks for expedited processing.”

For all Duke-related travel needs, community members can turn to the Duke Travel office. Students, faculty and staff can learn more about the services they offer at their website