Most people know that a passport is essential to international travel. But when traveling to some destinations, just having a valid passport isn’t enough. Follow our guide below to make sure your documents are in order for your next adventure.
Obtain a valid passport
If this is your first time applying for a passport, you must complete a DS-11 form and submit it in person at your local Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency. Be sure to bring evidence of U.S. citizenship (such as a birth certificate) as well as your license, military I.D. or another form of government-issued identification. Make a copy of both sides of your I.D. before you go, have a valid photo taken and be prepared to pay the fee. Visit the State Department website for more details and an updated list of what will be required when you apply.
It takes 4-6 weeks to for your passport to be issued, so give yourself ample time before you leave for your trip. If this window has already closed, you still have some options—an expedited passport will get to you in 2-3 weeks, but you’ll have to pay extra fees and delivery charges.
Check your expiration date
Be careful about your passport expiration date; many countries, such as China, Russia, Argentina and Ecuador require that your passport is valid for no less than six months after you return home. Most European countries (though not all) require three months validity after your exit date. Requirements vary by country—for example, India requires six months of passport validity after the date which you apply for a visa, and UK countries will accept any valid passport—so make sure to do your research or call our Customer Relations team for help.
Count your blank pages
You have a passport and it doesn’t expire for a couple of years. Good to go? Probably, but if you’ve been traveling quite a bit, you should make sure you have enough blank pages to hold the stamps you’ll be acquiring on your upcoming trip. Most countries, though not all, issue both entry and exit stamps. You’ll also need extra pages to accommodate any required visas. South Africa, an extreme example, requires all visitors to have at least two completely blank pages.
The bottom line? Avoid border headaches by doing your research before you go. Ask your Tour Consultant or search your destination on the State Department website for more information on entry and exit requirements.
Have a question about passports, visas or just travel in general? Email our team or give us a call at 1.877.265.1757.