Department of Internal Affairs warns travellers to check passport expiry dates as 400,000 passports expire during COVID-19

Some countries won't let you in if your passport is anywhere near expiry.
Some countries won't let you in if your passport is anywhere near expiry. Photo credit: Getty/Newshub (File)

There is no item that is more synonymous with travel than a passport - but it could be the one thing that prevents you from travelling when Aotearoa's borders open. 

According to Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs,  about 400,000 passports have expired since the New Zealand border was closed as a result of Covid-19.

Julia Wootton, Department of Internal Affairs GM Services and Access, says it's time for Kiwis to dust off their passports and check the expiry date before they dust off their suitcases and head to the airport.

"We want New Zealanders to be ready for international travel when they need or want to head overseas, so we are encouraging people to renew their passports now," Wootton said.

A passport's expiry date is displayed on the photo page inside the front of your passport.

If you are planning to travel and your passport is due to expire in less than a year, you may need to renew your passport. Some countries require that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended departure date from that country.  

While Australia only requires that a New Zealand passport must not expire during the period of your intended stay in Australia, that's not the case for places such as the Cook Islands. Here, visitors with passports from the European Union, United States, Canada or the UK must have a passport that is valid for six months beyond their period of stay. For Australian's, that period is seven days. Travellers on New Zealand passports only need a valid passport.

Should your passport need updating, the Department of Internal Affairs says it shouldn't take too long to get a new one, so your new passport should arrive and be ready to go by the time the travel bubble begins.