8 Common Passport Mistakes
Even the savviest of travelers overlook things sometimes. These are the most common passport mistakes or misunderstandings when it comes to international travel. Check and double check before you travel, and ask us if you have doubts or questions! We are here to make your journey seamless and smooth.
- Canada and Mexico are foreign countries — you need a passport.
No matter how friendly our neighbors to the north and south of us are, this is not negotiable. You will be turned away at the border or from boarding a plane without a valid passport.
- Children’s passports last only five years — not ten.
This can be confusing, especially if the family all got their passports at the same time. Adult's passports are good for five more years than children's.
- Keep the passport in a regular place at home.
Don't make a passport mistake by not returning it to the same drawer every time it's taken out for any reason. When you need it is usually a bad time to realize that you can't find it.
- Don’t forget your passport in a hotel room safe.
It’s not a bad idea to set up some sort of reminder, such as an alarm on your phone, to make sure you leave with your passport — and whatever else you’ve put in the safe.
- Running out of pages.
Some countries require blank pages to stamp entry visas. South Africa requires two blank pages. Period. It is no longer possible to have additional pages added to a passport, either, so if you’re running low, you may need to get a new passport even when yours is still valid. Yes, it’s time-consuming and expensive when you just need more pages. And, no, there are no exceptions.
- Some countries insist that a passport be valid three to six months after arrival to enter.
Much of Western Europe, including England, has the “six months” rule. Make sure to check the State Department International Travel pages of their website.
- Check visa requirements.
A number of countries are adding fees, which are more a tax than a visa. Some have to be paid in advance. Many countries still require visas, and it may take a week or longer to get one.
- Don’t lose track of time.
Even when you are sure your passport doesn’t expire for years, it’s not a bad idea to double-check once in a while.