Posted by: travelwithcurls | May 17, 2009

Passport Preparations

PassportOne of the most important parts of preparing for an international trip is double-checking your passport. Here are a couple items to inspect before you go:

1)   Date of Expiration: On the inside cover of your passport, next to your picture is a line that states the expiration date of your passport. I recommend that your expiration date is at least two years after your expected date of re-entry into your home country. Perhaps that seems a bit over-the-top, but you never know what happens when traveling. You might meet the person of your dreams and decide to stick around for a bit. Or maybe you encounter an unexpected delay in returning to your home country or next destination. Additionally, most visa applications require your passport to be valid for at least one year after your expected return date.

Inside Flap

2)   Name: Make sure the name on your passport matches the name on your airline ticket and credit cards. If your passport does not match your ticket, you will not be allowed on the plane. So, if you are recently married or changed your name, just make sure all of your official documents match.

3)   Signature: Make sure you sign your passport! It’s a simple thing to do and an even easier task to forget. But, your passport is not valid until it is signed. The signature line is also on the inside flap of your passport.

4)   Blank Pages: Its important to have at least two blank visa/entry stamp pages available (pages 8-21 in most US passports). If you have less space than that, it’s time to order some new ones! Pages 22 and above are reserved for amendments and endorsements and do not count as blank visa or entry stamp pages.

Blank Visa and Entry Stamp Pages

5)   Past Visas or Entry Stamps: It’s always a good idea to review the visa and/or entry stamps you already have in your passports. Some countries are strict about letting visitors with specific travel histories into their country. For example, I have entry and departure stamps from my trip to Israel. Some places like Dubai, Egypt, Iran, etc. are not always accommodating to people with stamps from Israel. If you have a similar predicament, I recommend either getting a new passport, or getting a letter from your senator or other state representative ensuring safe passage.

 Stamps from Israel

Making these simple passport preparations can reduce stress and anxiety when traveling abroad. If you have any additional questions, you can contact a representative at the embassy of your destination.

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