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September is passport awareness month and with holiday travel just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to make sure your passport it up to date with enough blank pages needed for international travel.

There are a couple of things to keep in consideration when preparing for international travel.

  • Expiration date
  • Blank pages needed to enter a country
  • Visas
  • Booking airline travel with names as they appear on your passport

Keeping reading for more information about each of the above items, as well as a few tips to make your travel smoother.

Expiration Date and Entry Requirements

Be sure to check the expiration date on your passport and verify the entry requirements for the countries to which you are traveling. Some countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months beyond the duration of your stay in that country. Remember, passports for adults are valid for ten years and five years for minors under 16 years of age. Some countries also require that passports have a certain number of blank pages for entry. For example, South Africa requires two completely blank pages each time entry into the country is sought. Extensive passport and entry requirements for the countries you are traveling to are listed in each set of documents Ker & Downey sends its clients. If you are unsure if your passport and visas are in order, please refer to your documents or contact your Travel Professional. For country specific information, you may also refer to the U.S. Department of State’s page for U.S Passports and International travel found here.

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Visas

Some countries require visas for international travel. You may be able to purchase your visa upon entry into the country, however some countries, such as Brazil, require you to obtain your visa from the embassy or consulate prior to travel. It is important to give yourself enough time between your travel date and getting your visa to allow for any complications that may arise. Please be aware that visa requirements change frequently. Although Ker & Downey will advise you of the current information concerning visas and other requirements, it is your responsibility to reconfirm the information and obtain all necessary documents for entry to countries listed on your itinerary.

Newlyweds

You planned the perfect wedding, are married, and ready to enjoy the long-awaited honeymoon. Brides, you’re probably eager to use your new last name, but remember that your airline tickets and your hotel reservations must match the name on your passport. Since you’ll likely not have changed the name on your passport to your new last name, remember to book your airline tickets and hotel reservations with your maiden name. And when you do return from your honeymoon, remember to update your passport with your new last name so that future travel plans are seamless.

What to do with your old passport

Old passports are great mementos of your past journeys. In addition, they are also proof of your U.S. citizenship. After you renew your passport, keep your old copy in a safe place. Marni Granston, our Director of Sales, also enjoys displaying color copies of some of her favorite pages in frames as a fun way to show off her stamps and remember her travels.

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Global Entry

Avoid the long customs and immigration lines upon your return trip to the states by applying for Global Entry. With approval, you’ll bypass the long lines and use a kiosk, much like an ATM, to complete your re-entry papers. To apply for the program, complete the online application and submit a $100 non-refundable fee. (Some credit card companies will waive this fee for you.) Once your application is reviewed, you’ll receive a message in your online account with instructions to set up an approval interview at one of the Global Entry Enrollment Centers. Once approved, your membership is effective immediately. For more information about the Global Entry program, check out this blog post.

When you are traveling, it is a good idea to leave a copy of your passport pages with someone in your family at home. In the event that your passport gets lost or stolen, it will make the process of replacing your missing passport smoother. When you travel with Ker & Downey, our air department also keeps a copy of your passport securely on file to avoid any delays in the event that your passport needs to be replaced.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact Ker & Downey with any questions you may have regarding your passport and entry requirements. Stay up to date on all of Ker & Downey’s online content by “liking” our Facebook page.

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