Fast Five Live is our new series highlighting 5 tips from a common question, issue or topic within our office. After this past week I would be happy to never say the word PASSPORT again but as a travel advisor that simply will not happen. However, we are here to remind you off all the things that will make travel and obtaining or renewing your passport so much easier!
1. VALIDITY? To be safe ensure that your passport is valid six months past your date of return from out of the country. For example; Italy requires six months of validity on your passport to enter the country from outside Schengen, while France requires three months and Switzerland only 90 days. With ever changing rules and policies we highly recommend six months. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. WHO NEEDS ONE? Everyone regardless of their age needs a valid passport to travel outside of the United States. We recently had a client assume their child didn’t need a passport because they were one years old and booked as a lap child so they didn’t have an airline ticket. After countless emails back and forth they agreed and applied for their babies passport, thanking us later.
3. EMPTY PAGES? A handful of countries require at least one or two fully blank pages for valid entry. This requirement could be for either an entry stamp or a visa. Countries that require a passport to have a blank page in order to be stamped include Mexico, Canada, the UK and Germany. Italy, Sweden, Singapore and Iceland along with several others require at least two blank pages for an entry stamp. If you travel often make sure to check your empty pages because ten years is a long time and pages fill quickly!
4. COPIES? Keep a copy of your passport with you, maybe in your checked bag or carry on and leave one with your travel advisor or family back home. While you cannot travel on a copy of your passport you may be able to use it to obtain a replacement passport should yours be lost or stolen.
5. PASSPORT QUALITY? Flawless. It needs to be flawless as missing pages, wet documents or marks could deny you entry. This week alone we had a dog snack on their owners passport, a man jump into the pool fully clothed with passport in pocket and a child color on her mothers passport book. Your passport really needs to go from your bag to the safe and back again to ensure smooth travels.
Bonus: we will book your vacation without a valid passport or during your application/renewal process, however, it is up to you to obtain the proper documentation needed for departure. If you have a vacation on your calendar apply now and get that one much needed step out of the way as current processing times have again gone up.
At the time this was published processing times are:
Routine 10-13 weeks
Expedited 7-9 weeks
We could share stories for days about passport issues, some avoidable and some absolutely not, but will keep that between us and our clients. However, do know that it’s best to be prepared to avoid any travel delays. For up to date information follow the link below.