Well, fact and myth.
The standard immigration rule for international entry is for a passport that has a minimum of 6 month validity before its expiry date. This said, it really depends on the immigration authority of the country. Here are some tips that may help, but remember that rules change all the time. Do your due diligence to double check if all info are correct.
These tips below are based on interviews and our own experiences only, it may or may not work for your case. This said, note that you may need to ask very specific questions before you get the right answer; this seems to be a common thread in various government bodies of different countries. It may help to ask the same questions to different people, because they might give different answers that can lead to a solution.
CROSS BORDER IMMIGRATION
PASSPORT POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
If your passport has less than 6 months validity by the time you fly, there are 3 possible solutions that will save you time, cash, and save you some anxiety.
1. Apply for a passport extension from the Philippine Consulate in Shanghai. It is not common knowledge that embassies and consulates can extend passports; and they don't disclose this openly. You must ask specifically about your case. Call them first for the requirements. You also need to check if the countries you're entering will accept this extension. It is a manual stamp with a new date, microchip data does not change.
PRO: A passport extension is the most anxiety-free solution IF you're eligible for it, and if you cannot get a renewed passport released in time for your trip. It is fast, and it solves issues about revising passport numbers on flight bookings.
CON: You need to double check if the extension is honored in the countries your entering (including China if you're flying back).
Passport renewal is still the safest solution, if you can process it early enough.
2. Apply for a passport renewal from the Philippine Consulate: at least 4 weeks.
You need to bring the original passport and a photocopy, and fill out a form they'll hand you . Physical appearance is required, even for babies and seniors. Call them first for complete requirements. Process takes at least 4 weeks and may take up to 8 weeks, but they don't guarantee maximum time. Consulate recommends to renew 8 months prior to the expiry date. Learn more here.
PRO: You stay in China, which means less complicated next steps.
CON: Takes a long time.
3. Apply for expedite passport in the Philippines: at least 5 working days.
DFA main branch in ASEANA Metro Manila could be your best bet. Rumor has it that it takes only 5 to 7 days, and OFWs do not need to have a prior appointment. Bring the original and photocopy of the return flight ticket, maybe it will help expedite. When claiming your new passport, inform the releasing officer NOT TO PUNCH A HOLE ON YOUR CHINA VISA so you can come back to China. If it is punched, it is invalid and you must reapply for a visa. Call DFA first to inquire on requirements, nearest branches that can accommodate your needs, and how long the process takes on each branch.
PRO: Faster process time, cheaper too if you're flying home anyway.
CON: If there's any complications, you may get stuck indefinitely. Do your due diligence in inquiring about possible issues with Visa validity on old passport, POEA (if you changed employers or haven't paid dues), OEC, Immigration, possibly NBI if you're unlucky enough to have the same name as a criminal.
TRANSFER YOUR CHINA VISA WITHIN 10 DAYS
*You need to transfer your China Visa to the new passport within 10 DAYS of getting your new passport, or else you will get fined for overstaying. You must apply for a Certificate of Same Person at the Consulate, this is required for the visa transfer.
**If you're renewing the passport in the Philippines, double check with the China Border Police if they accept China visa in your old passport to enter China. And if the 10 DAYS will start upon entering China? Or will it start 10 days upon release of passport from DFA in the Philippines? Is it 10 WORKING days or CALENDAR days? If you know the answer, please contact us and share your info.
IMMIGRATION AND BORDER CONTROL
Prior to your trip, it may be wise to contact the Immigration & Border Checkpoint Authority (i'm making this name up, but you get the point) of ALL countries you wish to enter while your passport is below 6 months validity. Don't forget the country you're returning back. State your case and inquire if they can let you in; also check if they accept a passport extension. You can inquire from the consulate of that country for the website, email, or hotline of their Immigration or Border control.
Get supporting documents for proof you have no intention of overstaying. Such as but not limited to: a letter of invitation from organizers of an event or business, short stay hotel booking and flight booking, prior entries to their country, work visa in your country of residence. They may not require, but it's good to be prepared.
Shanghai, China. They accept the passport below 6 months validity as long as your work visa is valid. If you're flying out then flying back to China, call them to be sure.
Philippines. They accept below 6 months validity if you are a Filipino citizen.
Singapore. They are generally strict, but they are reasonable. Prepare proof that you have no intention of overstaying （ie invitation letter from event organizer, proof you've been to SG the past year, or other relevant data to your cause.) These might up your chances of getting in even if your passport is below 6 months validity, though no guarantee. They also accept the passport extension by the PH consulate. Best to contact them prior to your flight.
Other countries. It really depends on the immigration office and how strict the country... and possibly how fervently you prayed. Best to contact the Immigration or Border Authority of all countries you're entering, prior to your travel dates. Because rules change all the time. And bring all supporting documents in your hand carry, just in case.
These are all just suggestions based on our interviews and experiences. Do your own due diligence, as rules change all the time. If you know relevant new info, contact us. Thanks!