It's with no small amount of urgency that I'm posting today because it was only yesterday that I learned that Italy now requires that U.S. passports be valid for at least six months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.
This came to my attention because a person who was supposed to join our current Design and Wine Italy Tour was not allowed to board her flight on Friday of last week because her passport would have expired before the required six months from the date of her departure.
Until recently, only three months were required for Italy. I know this because I renewed my passport earlier this year and had been reading up on travel requirements.
The U.S. State Department page devoted to Italy travel requirements was updated on January 22nd 2016. So the change must have been made at some point between December of last year and January of this year (because I remember clearly checking up on requirements in December of last year).
France also now requires six months (State Department page updated February 29th, 2016).
Germany still requires three months (last updated February 2015).
Our travelling companion reached us yesterday after expediting the renewal of her passport on Monday.
But she told me that when she visited her passport office, the agent who helped her was unaware of the change and only after researching the issue did he confirm that six months are now required.
Read more about the Schengen Agreement and its history here on Wikipedia.
The above information was shared with The Local by Jeremy Parzen, a food and wine historian, writer and translator. Read more about Italy on his website, DoBianchi.com.