New Year, New Passport?
As we all settle back into a routine this January, it’s a great time to carry out a few checks on your passport before you start setting your travel plans in stone.
Think of it as giving your passport a full MOT: you won’t be able to travel unless you pass!
1. Where Is Your Passport?
Yes it’s very obvious, but you should know that misplaced passports are a very common, but a very stressful problem in our line of work. “I definitely put it in the safest place I could think of, but that was several months back…” It’s a familiar occurrence, so make sure you know where it is before you start thinking about travelling!
So you’ve located your passport? Now to check for:
How much validity have you got left on your passport? Do you need to renew it? A lot of countries require at least 6 MONTHS validity on a passport before issuing a visa, so do not get caught out. Passport renewal times and costs vary from country to country, so make sure you start the renewal process in plenty of time prior to your travels.
3. What Condition Is It In?
Your passport needs to be kept in immaculate condition in order to be used. Embassies will not issue a visa in damaged passports.
Are all personal details readable?
Is there any discolouration to the bio-data page?
Are any pages missing/detached?
Is the laminate on the bio-data page lifted?
For e-passports, is the chip or antenna showing through the endpaper on the back cover?
Is there any water damage?
Are ANY of the pages crumpled or bent?
If you’re unsure of any of the above, you might want to consider replacing your passport.
It can be crucial that you have blank pages remaining in your passport, as a lot of countries require 2 opposite pages on which to stamp the visa.
5. Is It Signed?
You should always sign your new passport with a black pen as soon as you receive it. If it’s not signed, it will result in a lot of unnecessary faff that nobody needs. The assigned signature box in the passport varies from nationality to nationality, so make sure you sign in the right place.
6. Fill In Your Emergency Contacts
Not every country includes this page in their passports, but if yours does, make sure it is filled out. It’s not essential, but still important.