Passport & Visas

With summer rapidly approaching, many of us are looking forward to some well deserved time off. For those lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel outside of your normal habitat, I’m sure the excitement is building.

As you make the final preparations to your itinerary and confirm various bookings, take a minute to do a couple of things:

  1. Find your passport. Sounds silly, no? Trust me, there is nothing worse than getting ready to leave for the airport and realizing that you have no clue where that little bugger is located.
  2. Check the expiration date of your passport. Most countries you visit will not allow you to enter if you don’t have at least 6 months before your passport expires.
  3. Count how many blank pages you have. Ok, so if you rarely travel or this is your first trip (how exciting!) this shouldn’t be a worry. For more frequent travelers, have at least 6 blank pages left in your passport. There are immigration officials out there who strictly follow the rules of their country…and who don’t get paid enough to deal directly with the public everyday.
  4. Find out if you need to obtain a visa before you travel. For many, this is a non-issue as most countries around the world have agreements with one another to not require visas ahead of time. If you’re an American going to China, you need a visa.
  5. Confirm what visa fee you may have upon arrival in a foreign country. As Americans, we’re often appalled at the thought of having to pay for a visa. It is what it is. Don’t take it out on the immigration official – that’s generally a bad plan.